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Working to combat Malnutrition in Africa

Workers making Ready to Use Therapeutic Food in Ghana, Africa. This is part of Project Peanut Butter.

by Ken Root

Starvation is a primary healthcare problem in some regions of Africa.  Treating Severe Acute Malnutrition is not easy.  But a combination of humanitarian efforts has come up with a peanut butter and chocolate supplement to help starving babies and boost the nutrition of school children.  It has a strong U.S Connection.

On a USDA Trade Mission with US Deputy Secretary Krysta, Harden we flew to the interior city of Komasi, Ghana,  There we saw a factory called “project Peanut butter.

The output is like peanut butter but fortified and aimed at children desperately in need of nutrition. Carly Edwards works with the project. Many individuals and companies contribute to the project with Hershey’s giving a lot of in country support.

One Product is called RUTF which stands for Ready to Use Theraputic Food…and the other is called VIVA. It is a supplement offered to school children each morning.  The packet is about 20 grams.

The interior of the facility is immaculate with stainless steel equipment, well trained employees who are in medical scrubs to keep the product germ free. Although the processing is done in Ghana, most of the ingredients came from the United States.

The reason is that Ghana can’t trust local peanuts to be free of aflatoxin or salmonella.

They have local production as a goal but are now working with imported ingredients made by local workers to save fellow Africans from malnutrition.

Read more about Ken’s visit to Ghana here.