Enriching Flour, Enriching Lives: The Flour Fortification Initiative

18. Cost of Fortification
Estimated cost guidelines for fortification are available from suppliers of micronutrients and from the literature. Precise costs can be calculated when specific details are known. Such specific details include the geographic location of the milling plant and how many micronutrients have to be added in what amounts. Some markets may be more cost-sensitive than others. Like most other businesses, one may expect the milling community to be generally reluctant to embrace a voluntary fortification programme,
even if it is a simple one. Much of the skepticism is due to the fact that the cost of this additional process is not known for certain. However, once it is recognized that the cost of fortification is quite reasonable and the technology very simple, then for many millers the resistance to the idea gradually disappears.

There are two main factors which determine cost of fortification per person and year: choice of the premix and per capita flour consumption. The cost of simple fortification involving iron and folic acid is 4 to 5 U.S. cents per capita per year based on a per capita flour consumption of 250 g per day (Wylie, 2000). Expanding the same fortification programme to include vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, folic acid and iron increases the cost to 45 to 55 cents per capita per year (Wylie, 2000). A fortification programme involving vitamin B1, B2, B3 folic acid and iron costs around 10 cents per person based on a per capita flour consumption of 68 kg per year (AIC, 1998). These estimates provide a good indication of the cost of the premix (direct
cost). Freight and distribution costs must be added along with any other relevant expenses to achieve a region-specific cost figure.

Capital costs will include the purchase and installation of one feeder as several micronutrients are combined in a premix form, thus eliminating the need for several feeders. Additional operating costs will consist of storage of the premix, maintenance of the feeder, and qualitative / quantitative tests for monitoring the presence of appropriate levels of micronutrients.

19. Level Playing Field
In most competitive environments millers consider it a risky proposition to participate in a voluntary flour fortification programme as they lose their competitive edge over those who refrain from participation. It is imperative that all millers in a country participate. When everyone participates, as in countries with mandatory national flour fortification legislation, the additional costs related to fortification can be recovered and are insignificant in most situations. A good example to support this is the price fluctuations of wheat, as many millers have experienced wide swings in wheat costs. However, since everyone has to pay the same price there is a proportionate and collective increase in the price of flour. The price of wheat accounts for about 80% to 85% of the cost of a bag of flour.

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