USAID awards 500-metric-ton contract to MANA Nutrition
Article originally published in The Herald-Leader of Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, Georgia on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 by Sherri Butler.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has announced that MANA Nutrition has won a contract to manufacture 500 metric tons of its Mother Administered Nutritive Aid for the agency. A metric ton is equivalent to 2,204.6 lbs.
Federal officials were invited to Fitzgerald yesterday to tour the MANA plant and taste the product.
“We’re excited,” Mark Moore, co-founder of MANA Nutrition, said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “This means we’ll be running full steam for six weeks.”
Moore said the contract with USAID is “great news for local growers. The impact could be huge if the government has future tenders.”
At the moment, most peanuts used in products like MANA are grown in Argentina.
MANA currently has around 20 employees. In a 12-hour day, they can produce 1,000-1,500 cartons of the nutritive aid in 92 gram packages with much larger volumes possible in the future with small production tweaks and upgrades, Moore said.
Lisa Hibbert-Simpson, a press officer with USAID, said that’s enough to bring 30,000 children back from the brink of death. Hibbert-Simpson said the agency has been buying RUTF products like MANA on the market in response to humanitarian crises around the world. The agency has now decided that it is cheaper to manufacture the product and contract with MANA to produce it.
Aid organizations around the world have used the peanut-based nutritive aid for the community-based treatment of severe acute malnutrition for several years with outstanding results. Emaciated children are being nursed back to life in their own homes with the use of this nutrient-dense, highly fortified peanut paste.
Malnutrition leads to millions of child deaths each year – but many of those deaths are preventable. Three packets of MANA a day, for six weeks, can save the life of a child suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
MANA produced in Fitzgerald from south Georgia peanuts will be sent around the world to provide emergency nutrition to children. Hibbert-Simpson noted that the “largest complex emergencies” USAID is responding to now are in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region of the continent. She expects USAID will send the first shipment of MANA to a country in one of those regions.
USAID was created in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy to bring together several existing foreign assistance organizations and programs, with the goal of providing US foreign development assistance, including disaster relief. The agency’s staff now work in more than 100 countries around the world.
Learn more about USAID, here.