19 April 2023, Pakistan: Taj Din Chakki is a rural, solar-powered wheat mill in Pakistan that is paving the way for zinc-enriched wheat flour to reach families’ plates in its local area. The mill has been supported by HarvestPlus to convert from a conventional chakki mill into a zinc-wheat producing mill, as part of a pilot strategy started in 2022.
The aim of HarvestPlus and its partners is to establish supply chains for zinc-enriched foods that are built upon locally produced and processed nutritious wheat—providing farmers with ready buyers and a sustainable income, and the community at large with a nutritious staple food option. Taj Din Chakki was the first mill involved in this initiative to market branded zinc wheat flour in the district of Faisalabad.
“Our chakki mill is famous in our area for the supply of quality wheat flour. We started producing zinc-enriched flour when the HarvestPlus team visited our mill along with a local farmer from our village who is known for cultivating biofortified zinc wheat varieties,” said Haji Mahboob Ahmed, Taj Din Chakki manager.
To support Taj Din Chakki mill to convert to producing zinc-enriched flour, the mill was inaugurated by HarvestPlus staff in October 2022. It was provided with a one-time donation of 7,000 branded zinc wheat flour packaging bags and educational materials to communicate the benefits of zinc wheat. HarvestPlus and its partners also helped raise awareness of the zinc-enriched flour branding and package logo using digital media platforms and point-of-sales displays.
“I am thankful to the HarvestPlus team who connected me with farmers cultivating zinc wheat varieties and provided assistance in product development and the marketing of the nutritious flour,” Ahmed added.
A resident and mother, Farzana Bibi, has become a regular customer. “I learned about zinc-enriched flour when Taj Din Chakki mill in our village started producing it nearly five months ago. Since then, our family has been eating chappatis (Pakistani flat bread) made from this nutritious flour,” said BiBi. “The flour is good for the health and growth of our children and my children like the taste of chappatis made from zinc-enriched flour. I feel satisfied as my family is getting better nutrition by consuming this flour. I am raising awareness and recommending other women in my area to buy zinc-enriched flour to better the health of their families,” she added.
HarvestPlus and its partners in Pakistan are supporting wheat value chain actors to increase zinc wheat seed production and the availability of zinc-enriched foods in the market. These actions, combined with efforts to promote the commercialization of zinc wheat, are extending the reach of zinc wheat across rural areas of Pakistan, where a vast majority of the population lacks sufficient intake of zinc.
“More than 2.1 million households in Pakistan were growing and eating biofortified zinc wheat varieties in 2022. This is 51 percent more than last year and shows the success of the rapid scaling strategy implemented by HarvestPlus and its partners,” said Muhammad Imtiaz, HarvestPlus Pakistan Team Lead of Innovation and Commercialization. “Segregating biofortified zinc wheat varieties and providing support to food processors on branding and marketing have proven to be helpful ways to reach wider populations with zinc-enriched foods via markets.”
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