Through the newly launched Business Alliance for Food Fortification (BAFF), to develop joint projects aimed at reaching the poor and at-risk populations, which seek to expand coverage, share best practices, develop common approaches to fortification, and identify resources and mechanisms to finance new fortification initiatives. To hold an annual forum for this engagement, the first of which is proposed to take place in China in October 2005.
Two billion people around the world suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which cause anemia, blindness, cretinism, and retarded brain development and productivity. Food fortification offers an extraordinary opportunity to improve lives and accelerate development cheaply and quickly. The BAFF will be a network for leaders in the food industry and beyond who show commitment to addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies and corporate social responsibility. The BAFF should increase sustainable market-based interventions to counter micronutrient deficiencies; increase coverage of deficient population through food voluntarily fortified by companies; and promote global awareness and support for these interventions among key audiences.
At every stage of the value chain, private sector parties - from local producers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to national and multinational corporations - are well-placed to make a significant contribution to reducing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The first group of companies was selected because of their engagement in the UN Global Compact, concrete commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals, long-term dedication to food fortification or recommendation by GAIN board members or partners. The GAIN business guidelines are also used systematically as a reference framework. If successful, the business alliance would be a catalyst for scaling up existing efforts worldwide to increase coverage of deficient populations; increasing resources for food fortification interventions; and expanding the community of decision makers dedicated to fighting vitamins and minerals deficiencies.