CAIRO, EGYPT — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Nov. 3 that it has partnered with Egypt and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to launch a major national project to protect Egypt’s population from vitamin deficiencies, with production beginning this week of vitamin-enriched vegetable oil.

WFP said the five-year national project targets 60 million Egyptians benefiting from the government’s food subsidy system — especially children and women — with an investment of more than $13 million. More than 840,000 tonnes of subsidized vegetable oil will be fortified with vitamins A and D, reaching close to 80% of Egypt’s population.

Egyptian government studies have shown that more than half the nation’s children under the age of five and around 40% of women do not get an adequate intake of vitamin A, which is needed for healthy skin, eyes, for the immune system and growth.

Large-scale food fortification started in Egypt in 2008, with a partnership between the Egyptian government, WFP and GAIN, to fortify wheat flour used in the making of baladi bread with iron and folic acid which now benefits more than 50 million Egyptians.