sunflower oilSolving persistent health challenges requires ingenuity and energy. Seasonally dependent diets, poor in micronutrients, are often inadequate in supplying daily requirements of essential vitamins. Chronic deficiencies in these micronutrients can lead to severe malnutrition, causing growth stunting and increased susceptibility to disease. In Tanzania, the Government announced its intention to expand production and consumption of fortified foods to conquer these nutritional deficiencies.The purpose of the Masava project is to address Vitamin A deficiency in rural Tanzania by enabling private sector small and medium enterprise (SME) sunflower oil processors to fortify unrefined sunflower oil with Vitamin A. The project is focused on in two regions in Northern Tanzania that have high levels of Vitamin A deficiency and will target the most vulnerable populations; lactating women and children under 5 years old.




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This project will also study two emerging technologies; fortification of unrefined sunflower oil and e-Vouchers. The refinement of sunflower oil causes a loss of nearly 10% compared to unrefined oil product, leading to increased costs to the consumer. Although large-scale centralised oil producers are now fortifying foods, these areas are often not reached affordably from larger cities. Masava focuses on small-scale oil producers who can compete to meet the demand from rural consumers for low-cost unrefined oil. The fortification of unrefined oil is an innovation being tested.

To promote the new product, the project offers initial discount of the oil through an e-Voucher.  The voucher utilizes cellphone messaging to deliver targeted discounts to mothers of children under five, and other residents of selected Vitamin A deficient communities, while jump-starting demand for the new fortified oil from the four SMEs.

Project Quick Facts

Masava: The name is derived from the Kiswahili phrase “Mafuta ya Asili ya Alizeti yenye Vitamini A,” translates to “Natural Sunflower Oil fortified with Vitamin A.”

Goal: The goal of the project is to test business models and subsidy schemes that encourage sustainable demand for Vitamin A fortified crude sunflower oil in rural markets.  It will also test, though partners, the shelf-life of fortified unrefined sunflower oil in this context and the ability to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in the target population.

MASAVA DistrictsMASAVA Districts (click to view)Reaching: 400,000 beneficiaries

Partners: Mennonite Economic Development Associates, University of Waterloo (Canada), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania)

Project length: August 2014 - January 2017

This project is undertaken with the financial support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC),, and the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC),