Solving hunger from Fitzgerald's Mana Plant

Published: Aug. 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2012 at 8:52 PM EDT
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FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - Work being done in Fitzgerald is saving thousands of lives overseas. Foreign aid officials were at the Mana plant Tuesday to introduce a new food product that will treat malnutrition.

It is ready to use therapeutic food that is made in the Fitzgerald Mana Plant, then United States aid workers get it shipped around the globe to families suffering from hunger.
That food that is made in Fitzgerald's Mana Plant can make a big difference in a child's life in just a few weeks.

"So we make a fortified peanut butter here in the facility with the generosity of local peanut farmers who have contributed as well as bring in some powdered milk and micro-nutrients," said Troy Hickerson, Mana Nutrition director of development. "That gets put into these cases."

Thousands of packages are produced daily. Officials say it is the key to preventing hunger around the globe.

"This is part of our effort to revamp the American Food Aid basket and to make it more nutritious," said Dina Esposito with USAID Food for Peace. "This is really a miracle product that has worked to transform the way we treat severe acute malnutrition."

USAID feeds more than 46 million people in 48 countries. Mana got the contract to work with them. The process of getting the food from the factory to children can be tough.

"Food for peace works in some very remote places where it takes a long time," said USAID program analyst Greg Olson. "The roads are bad. You can't pass certain times of the year. These are all things we have to factor in to making sure we get product delivered when our partners need it."

So, what does this revolutionary miracle product taste like? 

"Very soft, very sweet, and pleasant tasting," Esposito said. "It is very easy to swallow. It is already measured in the proper size for the child. So, they don't have to worry about getting too much or too little."

Mana says they are very excited about continuing to work with USAID to help make kids healthier around the world. 
Every one of these packs is 500 calories of food. So, just five of them could feed a child for a day. The Mana plant workers told us it inspires them to know they are saving lives. 

One of the reasons the Mana Plant and USAID are working out of Fitzgerald is the high volume of peanuts grown in the area. They said Georgia and Argentina are the two best places in the world for growing peanuts.

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