Over the past year our factory in Malawi, which we operate with our partners Exagris Africa, has produced 3 million sachets of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), sufficient to treat around 25,000 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
Despite these figures it has been a difficult year due to a poor groundnut harvest. Peanut paste is a key raw material for RUTF and the quality need to be extremely high. We have struggled to maintain a consistent supply of paste and in response to this we have made several changes with our suppliers. While it will take some time to see the benefits materialise, we remain optimistic on the longer term outlook. Demand for RUTF remains high and if we can produce, the volume opportunities are there.
With the help of a grant from USAID’s South African Trade Hub (SATH), we plan to start pilot production of a Ready-to-use Complementary food (RUCF) in Malawi very soon.
What is RUCF? RUCFs are designed to prevent chronic malnutrition which affects 43% of all children in Malawi and on average over 40% of all children in sub Saharan Africa. We intend to undertake a test market project using RUCF in Malawi, which will focus on addressing the process used to reach children affected by Chronic Malnutrition using a customer and market driven approach. This is the first step in a very ambitious programme we have lined up for 2015 to start the process of unlocking this potentially massive market.