Local Production of Plumpy’Nut

Local production in Malawi, 2002

By Anne-Laure Glaisner and Beatrice Simkins, Nutriset

The French company, Nutriset, has been involved in projects aimed at establishing local production of Plumpy'nut - a ready-to-use food product (RTUF) employed in feeding programmes for the management of severe malnutrition. Plumpy'nut can also be used as a nutritional supplement for children and adults.

The product was originally developed in partnership with the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) and has been jointly patented by Nutriset/IRD. The practical value of this product - especially in situations where there are few trained staff available and in home-treatment programmes - has meant that it has been adopted by a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). A wide variety of stakeholders have been interested in local production in order to make access to Plumpy'nut more sustainable.

Experience with local production

The first project to attempt local production of Plumpy'nut was in Senegal, in partnership with the University of Dakar and the ITA (Institute for Food Technology) in Dakar. Production is currently taking place within the university and a comparative study is being carried out into the effectiveness of locally produced Plumpy'nut compared to the product manufactured in France. The aim of the project is to promote small-scale local production in each feeding centre so as to increase the availability of the product in a way that it can become an integral part of public health programmes in Senegal.

Distribution of Plumpy sauce in a plate of rice, Madagascar in 1996

A second project, which developed out of the concerted action of a number of NGOs, is underway in Malawi. In December 2002, Nutriset carried out a technical audit in the field to identify a potential local producer. The product and the manufacturing process have been adapted to local conditions, taking into account the availability of raw materials, production equipment and packaging. A licence was granted to the manufacturer, free of charge, for the production and sale of Plumpy'nut in the social work/humanitarian sector. In order to ensure product quality, Nutriset supplies the essential minerals and vitamins used in the form of a premix. This premix is sold to the NGOs who will be using the final product, and it is delivered for processing to the local manufacturer. A second visit is planned for October 2003.

A third project has been the initiative of a small food company in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The idea held three attractions for the company: helping to meet an increasingly pressing local need, a means to diversify its production, and becoming more involved in the 'social fabric' of the region. In June 2003, Nutriset and its project partners carried out a technical audit and market study. Funding is currently being sought. Nutriset will provide the company with technical support and will ensure staff training for production and quality management. A licence for the production and sale of Plumpy'nut to the humanitarian sector will be granted free of charge. However, the company is also planning to develop a similar product for distribution on the local market. This product will be distinguished from Plumpy'nut by its name, its formula and its packaging. Nutriset will also help in the design and development of this product.

These three projects show that the process of setting up local production of Plumpy'nut cannot be standardised and will depend on local conditions. Furthermore, the most critical aspect of setting up local production is establishing quality management. Conscious of its role as leader in this type of project, Nutriset is planning to set up an experimental production line reproducing, as far as possible, the manufacturing conditions encountered in developing countries. The purpose of this is to help staff understand more precisely the problems local producers have to deal with, in order to help them find solutions. Licencing Plumpy'nut local producers is another key area for quality control. A licence effectively becomes a quality guarantee for NGOs and other users.

For further information, contact Anne-Laure Glaisner, Research and development, or Beatrice Simkins, International communication and development, email: nutriset@nutriset.fr, NUTRISET - BP 35 - 76770, Malaunay, France
tél : +33 (0)2 32 93 82 8)
fax : +33 (0)2 35 33 14 15
http://www.nutriset.fr/

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Anne-Laure Glaisner and Beatrice Simkins (2003). Local Production of Plumpy’Nut. Field Exchange 20, November 2003. p13. www.ennonline.net/fex/20/local