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The Mozambican government announced on Tuesday that it is ending its subsidy to national salt producers, which was intended to ensure that they iodise their salt.
According to the national director of industry, Mateus Matusse, speaking to reporters in the central city of Beira, the subsidy is n longer necessary, since many of the producers are now self-sufficient in the production of iodised salt.
Matusse was attending a meeting on the iodation of salt in which the government’s partners in nutrition issues, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), were also participating.
Cited in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Matusse said the partners accepted the end of the subsidy, and UNICEF representative Michel le Pechoux also announced the end of financial support for iodation initiatives. He believed that the initiatives to date had been positive and that the health of women and children had “improved substantially” because of iodation.
“Now the challenge is for the companies to advance to self-sufficiency and continue to iodise salt, because the absence of iodine causes problems of malnutrition”, he said.
GAIN representative Katia dos Santos said that many lives had been saved because of the iodation of salt. She described Mozambique as a priority focus for GAIN in its work against malnutrition and nutrient deficiency.
Despite the end of the subsidy, Matusse said the government will continue to support salt producers, particularly the traditional producers, who are the majority, by providing training. “We will continue to bank on the small processing industries so that they too become sustainable”, he added.
Iodine is an essential micronutrient, and iodine deficiency, which affects about two billion people across the globe, can cause a range of health problems, including goiter, stunted growth and mental disabilities. Adding iodine to salt is the cheapest and most effective way of combating iodine deficiency.Source: AIM