Small Scale Food Fortification at the Village Level

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Small Scale Food Fortification at the Village Level

Boston, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

PHC is working in Nepal and East Africa to bring fortified food to the hardest to reach and most vulnerable populations. An effective model and game changing technology has been designed that enables small and medium scale, village-level mills to cost-effectively and sustainably fortify their flour.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Despite the increasing adoption of large-scale fortification programs, a large portion of individuals living in rural and remote areas do not have access to centrally processed foods. Addressing this gap becomes critical when considering the fact that these rural and remote populations are the most vulnerable and in the greatest need of strategies to combat micronutrient malnutrition.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In 2008, PHC decided to take on the challenge of small-scale fortification since there was a clear need for a more accurate, cost-effective and streamlined model to get micronutrients to the rural poor. PHC has since developed a game changing technology that has proven to be an effective and low-cost solution to combat micronutrient deficiencies in rural populations. PHC’s dosifier has been developed over five years with the aim to meet specific key criteria: low-cost yet accurate and robust, lightweight and easily transportable, and the ability to be installed on all flour mills. Currently, no other fortification device available meets these criteria.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In most African countries and in parts of southern Asia, staple foods are not centrally processed. In these regions, a large percentage of consumers (i.e., surpassing 50%, and even up to 90% in some countries) depend on small to medium-scale milling to process staple foods. These consumers cannot be reached using the large-scale, centralized fortification model. Ironically, these consumers are also the poorest of the poor – the very ones who are most in danger of micronutrient malnutrition. In 2011, PHC launched a pilot project in Nepal to enable mills to efficiently and cost-effectively fortify their grain. Currently there are 30 devices installed in extremely rural conditions in order to stress test the technology.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Our impact is possible through the inovation of our technology. Our dosifier is designed for ease of manufacture and field repair, and with an operating procedure that causes little disruption to the established daily routine of the user (e.g., the miller). A low up-front device cost makes the device accessible to local communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”). Precise dosing allows the nutrients to be more highly concentrated, substantially lowering ongoing nutrient and logistics cost. The dispenser is constructed of food grade stainless steel and the premix is well sealed from the elements. A high torque motor drives the feed-screw, ensuring accurate dosing. The thorough mixing of premix and grain within the mill, as well as the cooking process, ensures homogeneity of the end product.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The ongoing cost of premix is negligible (<$1/year/person), and thus it's easily absorbed outright by the miller or through the customer's milling fee in a cost-recovery system. Payments plans will be offered to millers to offset the upfront cost of the technology. By reducing capital and operating costs and developing a sustainable scale-up model, PHC aims to provide the global nutrition community with the technology to reach millions.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Previous programs attempting the direct “hand-scoop” method of fortification at small-scale mills have achieved limited success. The risk of human error and the challenge of monitoring and sustaining the program once the implementing partner has left, has meant that these programs have never been scaled up past the initial pilot stage. The advantage of our fortification program at small and medium scale mills compared to other nutrition initiatives like supplementation, RUTF or Sprinkles, is its low cost implementation and high coverage impact.

Founding Story

David Dodson was driving through rural Rwanda, where PHC was working with the government to design and implement a nationwide food fortification program, to enrich staple products with vital nutrients essential for good health. But as he passed by the small farms, he realized that the programs PHC had designed would never reach the rural, very-poor, Rwandans with no access to centrally processed foods. It was then he realized that if PHC devised a means to fortify food in the thousands of small mills scattered over the developing world, there was a chance to impact the most vulnerable populations with a cost effective solution that prevents disease before it happens.


I think that at the local level you are doing a good job.