Around the world, severe acute malnutrition – the depletion of the human body from a lack of food and nutrients – has quickly become one of the most common causes of death for children. In Yemen alone, according to UNICEF, nearly half a million children are currently suffering from malnutrition and another 2.2 million people require urgent care. There is an urgent need for more supplies of therapeutic food that could help save some of these young lives.
In a factory on the outskirts of Nairobi, a company called Insta Products produces ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF), a high calorie fortified peanut based food product. RUTF is made from a mix of peanut paste, milk powder, sugar, vitamins and minerals and is packaged in life-saving individual sachets that deliver a powerful 500 kilocalories to those suffering from acute malnutrition.
Insta sells these sachets to relief organizations including UNICEF, which distributes RUTF in conflict affected areas and other emergency zones, particularly across the East African region and Yemen. Close to 70% of Insta’s products are used to treat drought-related malnutrition in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. Insta is currently the only manufacturer of RUTF in East Africa, and a top five supplier to UNICEF globally.
Amid one of the Africa’s worst famines since 1945, the Private Sector Window of GAFSP, alongside IFC, made a $7 million investment in Insta Products to help the company expand its RUTF capacity and to double its sales on the back of an increased supply. The $7 million investment will be supported by an additional $4 million loan from IFU, a Danish government fund.
GAFSP and IFC’s investment will help support the timely delivery of 310,000 additional cartons of RUTF and will help treat 300,000 people suffering from acute malnutrition each year. Currently the project is well ahead of target, with Insta reporting that nearly 300,000 people were reached in a two-month period in 2017 alone.
300,000 malnourished lives will be saved through increased access to RUTF
This investment will help support the timely delivery of 310,000 additional cartons of RUTF to afflicted areas across East Africa, and help treat 300,000 more people from acute malnutrition.
Improved health and educational outcomes for children.
Nutrition is fundamental to an individual’s cognitive and physical growth, and is also the cornerstone of all development efforts, whether improving education, health, income or equality, at home or abroad. Increased RUTF capacity through GAFSP’s investment in Insta will help the company reach more children and help prevent stunted growth and vitamin deficiency, which can harm cognitive development, learning capabilities and economic productivity into adulthood, reinforcing the cycle of poverty.
Mr Niraj Shah
Head, GAFSP Private Sector Window
Tel: 202 473 3743