Legal mandates can play an important role in the success of rice fortification programs that involve the private sector. However, merely enacting mandatory legislation does not guarantee success; it requires a coordinated, multidimensional cross-sector effort that addresses stewardship, develops an appropriate rice fortification technology, enables sustainable production and distribution channels through a range of private-sector players, ensures quality, generates consumer demand, and monitors progress. Furthermore, economic sustainability must be built into the supply chain and distribution network to enable the program to outlast government administrations and/or time-limited funding. Hence, mandates can serve as valuable long-term enablers of cross-sector mobilization and collaboration and as catalysts of civil society engagement in and ownership of fortification programs. This paper compares the rice fortification experiences of Costa Rica and the Philippines--two countries with mandates, yet distinctly different industry landscapes. Costa Rica has achieved national success through strong government stewardship and active market development--key elements of success regardless of industry structure. With a comparatively more diffuse rice industry structure, the Philippines has also had success in limited geographies where key stakeholders have played an active role in market development. A comparative analysis provides lessons that may be relevant to other rice fortification programs.
Keywords: Costa Rica; Philippines; fortified rice; micronutrient deficiencies; rice fortification.
© 2014 New York Academy of Sciences.