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Double-fortified salt reduces anemia, benefit:cost ratio is modestly favorable


  • Horton, Sue
  • Wesley, Annie
  • Venkatesh Mannar, M.G.


Iron deficiency is very widespread, with adverse consequences for health and cognition. Iron supplementation is not popular for long-term use, and cereal fortification is not feasible where milling occurs locally. Double-fortified salt (DFS: using both iron and iodine) is an alternative. The study undertakes a literature survey to find the effect of DFS on hemoglobin, and then uses a previous algorithm to make calculations for India. The benefit:cost ratio was estimated as 2.4:1 if only the benefits to children and women were included, and between 4:1 and 5:1 if anemia levels for men also decreased. This is just a little lower than the median ratio estimated for iron fortification of cereal staples (6.7:1), for home fortification for children less than two (37:1), and for biofortification - breeding for high iron - of cereals (high, but no exact figure available). Double-fortified salt is therefore a good alternative for improving iron status in populations where fortification of other staple foods does not achieve desired coverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Horton, Sue & Wesley, Annie & Venkatesh Mannar, M.G., 2011. "Double-fortified salt reduces anemia, benefit:cost ratio is modestly favorable," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 581-587, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:5:p:581-587

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stein, Alexander J. & Meenakshi, J.V. & Qaim, Matin & Nestel, Penelope & Sachdev, H.P.S. & Bhutta, Zulfiqar A., 2008. "Potential impacts of iron biofortification in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1797-1808, April.
    2. Matin Qaim & Alexander J. Stein & J. V. Meenakshi, 2007. "Economics of biofortification," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 37(s1), pages 119-133, December.
    3. Horton, S. & Ross, J., 2003. "The economics of iron deficiency," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-75, February.
    4. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
    5. Meenakshi, J.V. & Johnson, Nancy L. & Manyong, Victor M. & DeGroote, Hugo & Javelosa, Josyline & Yanggen, David R. & Naher, Firdousi & Gonzalez, Carolina & García, James & Meng, Erika, 2010. "How Cost-Effective is Biofortification in Combating Micronutrient Malnutrition? An Ex ante Assessment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 64-75, January.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2002:92:2:288-293_5 is not listed on IDEAS
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