Peanut processing facility brought to Ghana by international partners

By Fran Roberts

On Monday, US Ambassador Robert P. Jackson, Otumfuo Adontehene, Minister of Business Development Ibrahim Awal Mohammed, and Ashanti Regional Minister Simon Osei-Mensah launched a commercial peanut processing facility at the Kumasi factory of Project Peanut Butter.

Project Peanut Butter is an NGO devoted to combatting undernutrition by producing effective ready-to-use therapeutic foods. 

The peanut processing facility was provided through a partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Hershey Company, and Rotary International.

The peanut processing facility will increase demand for locally grown aflatoxin-free peanuts. Aflatoxin is a toxic carcinogen that sometimes strikes when agronomic conditions are not ideal.

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Exposure to aflatoxins is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world, such as Ghana.

This has the potential to boost Ghana’s peanut value chain, thereby increasing incomes for Ghanaian peanut farmers. 

It is expected that the facility will be used to manufacture ready-to-use-therapeutic food to combat child malnutrition in Ghana and beyond.

According to UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank’s 2016 joint child malnutrition estimates, about 32% of children in Africa are stunted whilst another 8% are wasting. 

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100g of raw peanuts provides 95% of the recommended daily allowance of manganese, an important element for human health and essential for development.

Project Peanut Butter will use the facility to roast local Ghanaian peanuts for Vivi, a peanut-based nutritional supplement the company developed that is now a key part of the Ghanaian government’s Ghana School Feeding Program. 

The Hershey Company is currently providing 52,000 students with ViVi per day. Their full-growth market projection is 1.3mn students

At the launch ceremony, Jackson said this partnership would lead to increased incomes for Ghanaian peanut farmers while improving health and nutrition. “Today’s launch is about the power of partnerships,” he said. 

“This facility will enhance our efforts to improve food security, incomes, and nutrition, in collaboration with the Ghanaian government, private sector, and communities.”

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