Valdecir Benedito Valdo França
Fellow Since 1993
This profile was prepared when Valdecir Benedito Valdo França was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Valdo França and a number of like-minded associates with whom he is working are convinced that a simple and readily affordable program of dietary supplementation could markedly reduce the incidence of malnutrition in Brazil. Unfortunately, the processed foods that account for large and increasing shares of the food intakes of relatively poor (and nutritionally "at-risk") Brazilians are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals and fail to assure a nutritionally sufficient and balanced diet. But Valdo and his colleagues are persuaded that a low-cost and easily produced dietary supplement could remedy those deficiencies.The supplement that they advocate, which is called farinha multipla, is a meal, or flour-like substance, that can easily be incorporated in standard diets. Composed of wheat and rice bran, the leaves of manioc, sweet potato, zucchini and the seeds of melons and sunflowers, it is rich in nutrients and food scientists at the Universities of São Paulo and Minas Gerais have determined that it is an entirely safe and effective food supplement. It is also extremely inexpensive to produce, especially since several of its key ingredients are often discarded in food processing operations and can be obtained at very low cost. Furthermore, it can be easily mixed into several commonly consumed foods, either during the cooking process or on the plate, without distorting their taste.In an effort to encourage the widespread use of farinha multipla, Valdo and his associates are developing a broad array of public information materials. They are also encouraging municipal governments and other institutions involved in nutrition programs to use the product and they are currently implementing a pilot project in collaboration with a municipal government in the state of Acre.