Getting iodized salt on the plate

Knowledge brokering02 Nov 2022Mariëlle Karssenberg, Jorrit Oppewal

Getting iodized salt on the plate: Dynamics, barriers, and opportunities around the regional trade of iodized salt in West and Central Africa

Iodine is one of the most essential dietary needs of the human body. Insufficient intake can result in Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) which can cause adverse effects on mental and physical health. Universal fortification of salt with iodine has proven to be the most effective strategy to ensure that people consume sufficient amounts of iodine in their diets. UNICEF estimates that 89% of the global population consumes salt with at least some iodine content. This percentage is lower, at 83.3% when only looking at West and Central Africa (WCA).

Since 2010, however, further progress has stalled, and across WCA there are even signs of retrogression. Therefore, a renewed focus and attention to the problem of iodine deficiency is much needed. To make structural progress in the WCA region regional trade dynamics should be part of the conversation. The number of salt-producing areas in the region is limited, concentrated in Ghana and Senegal, meaning that most WCA citizens depend on smooth regional trade for their access to iodized salt.

This report describes the dynamics, barriers, and opportunities in relation to strengthening the flow of iodized salt in West and Central Africa.
The methodology consists of three important elements:

  1. review of existing studies and literature;
  2. analysis of available trade data (COMTRADE);
  3. five dedicated country-level reports, for which country experts undertook fieldwork, visiting relevant sites and interviewed stakeholders. The selected countries include two net salt-exporting countries (Ghana and Senegal) and three net salt-importing countries (Burkina Faso, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire).

The report also looks ahead and provides 8 recommendations that can inform the dialogue and the process going forward.

This review was undertaken as a partnership project between the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Iodine Global Network (IGN), executed in partnership with The Broker, with funding support from USAID and BMGF.