The Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project
Solving malnutrition in developing countries Changing the world through social business
Contributing to a Brighter Future of Children through Nutritional Improvement
What is the Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project? Since its foundation, the Ajinomoto Group has built up a wealth of knowledge in the fields of food and amino acids, which it today utilizes to help solve the pressing issue of malnutrition in developing countries. The Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project was launched to achieve the aforementioned aspiration via a social business. Under this project, we manufacture and sell a supplement that improves the nutritional balance of weaning food, thereby helping improve the nutritional status of local children in the weaning period.
The Ajinomoto Group started this project in fiscal 2009 as part of initiatives to commemorate its centenary. The Group has since been steadily implementing the project in cooperation with the government of Ghana, the University of Ghana, and other international NGOs and corporates. Eating nutritious food is essential to the lives of people. Starting with the project in Ghana, we will continue to take on the challenge of helping improve the nutritional status of children for their brighter future.
Republic o f Ghana Capital: Accra Area: 238,537 km 2 (about two-thirds of the area of Japan) Population : About 25 million (UNFPA 2011) Main industries : Agriculture accounts for about 30% of gross domestic product (GDP) and about 60% of employment. Source: Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
Malnutrition poses a serious challenge in developing countries
Number of starving/ malnourished people
Number of people suffering from vitamin/ mineral deficiencies
Annual number of deaths due to malnutrition among children under five years old
Those with an annual income of 3,000 dollars or less (so-called Base of the Pyramid : BOP) account for about 60% of the world's population or 4.1 billion people. Most of these low-income earners live in developing countries, where there are a range of social issues, including serious problems related to the growth retardation and high mortality rate of infants. The Ajinomoto Group is endeavoring to help solve these problems from the viewpoint of nutritional improvement.
Contribution to the attainment of the MDGs * The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals comprise eight goals aimed at solving problems related to poverty in developing countries, with the overall goal to reduce global poverty by half by 2015, through cooperation among relevant organizations including national governments and the United Nations itself. Based on international development targets, the goals were officially established with the United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries including Japan, along with deadlines for achieving targets and indicators to measure progress.
For a More Sound and Brighter Future of Children
Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days Provides the Foundation for Children's Future Malnutrition, which is a serious issue in developing countries, gives various adverse effects to the physical and intellectual growth of children. In these countries, it is critical to improve the nutritional status of children especially during their first 1,000 days or the first three years from conception to their second birthday, because it is said that the growth retardation of children during the period cannot easily be recovered even by sufficient nutritional intake in the subsequent stages of their lives. In response, the Ajinomoto Group launched a project to address malnutrition among weaning infants aged between six months and two years. Under the project we will contribute to a sound future of local children by providing a supplement to be added
to the traditional porridge called koko, which is fed to weaned infants in Ghana but is deficient in nutrients
such as protein and micronutrients.
Ghanaian Children Stunted by Malnutrition Percentage (%) of children who are stunted
Compared with breast milk, which has the ideal composition of amino acids, weaning
food made mainly from cereals tend to lack
necessary nutrients, such as lysine, one of the essential amino acids and micronutrients. In Ghana, malnutrition during the weaning
period, which starts when babies become six months old, causes the poor growth of infants, and 30% to 40% of those aged two
years old are stunted. It is said that such children tend to have problems also regarding
intellectual growth and the development of the immune system. 0
Source : Ghana Health Ser vice (GHS)
In conducting social business in developing countries, we need to overcome a
Creating a Brighter Future through Partnerships Social Business Pursued by the Ajinomoto Group
range of problems specific to such countries, and it is difficult for a company to handle all of the problems on its own. We therefore aim to build a new sustainable business model in a more effective and efficient manner by forming partnerships to foster open innovation with the local government and other local stakeholders, experienced NGOs, international organizations and other corporate entities.
Japan International Cooperation Agency
University of Ghana
In depth Understanding of Local Needs
Producing Locally with a Local Partner
DSM Life science company based in
We need to identify local needs in order to
Local production using locally grown soybeans
provide local people with a product that helps
and other ingredients helps foster local
them improve their nutritional status in a way
agriculture and create employment, we are
that suits local food culture and tastes at an
building up a sustainable business model by
affordable price. To meet this requirement, it is essential to conduct joint research and
Ye d e n t
foster collaboration with local research insti-
A food company
tutes, including a university, NGOs, and NPOs.
with a focus on
transferring our technologies, know-how on quality assurance to our local production partner, Yedent, a food company in Ghana.
Building up a Innovative Distribution Model
Ghana Health Service
company headquartered in South Africa
In Ghana, there are areas with few retail stores
Communicating the Importance of Nutrition to Local Mothers
due to the lack of necessary distribution
It is necessary for local mothers to have correct
infrastructure. In response, we are cooperating
knowledge about nutrition as a precondition
with an international NGO implementing a
to encourage the mothers to make appropriate
program to support the empowerment of
use of KOKO Plus to improve the nutritional
women in the northern part of the country,
status of their children. To this end we are
to develop a local system for women of each in addition to promoting sales through the traditional distribution route.
providing local mothers with nutritional
village to serve as salespersons for the product,
education in cooperation with Ghana Health
NPO committed to United States Agency
CARE International NGO aims at poverty reduction
NGO / NPO
* For details of each organization, please see the back side of this page.
Service, a Ghanaian government organization and NGOs.
Partners' Aspirations and Expectations INF, in partnership with the Ajinomoto Group, has conducted studies to examine the effect of Lysine, an essential amino acid, on the improvement in nutrition, immunity and health status of people in developing countries since 1995. In this project, we are working with the Ajinomoto Group and the University of Ghana through a unique partnership that allows for translating scientific knowledge obtained through the studies into practice. The joint project is testing the potential for a low cost nutritious supplement in improving growth of infants and young children in Ghana, a concept that is applicable globally in at least 20 countries that have high rates of chronic malnutrition. We are pleased to be able to contribute towards the improvement of infants and young children globally through this joint project.
INF Dr. Shibani Ghosh Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation (INF)
The University of Ghana(UG), through the Department of Nutrition & Food Science, is very happy to be involved in this project, which is a clear model of the Public-Private-Partnership approach of solving community health and social problems. Childhood malnutrition is indeed a problem in Ghana that merits interventions. The University of Ghana is proud to be involved in such a demand-driven research that would significantly address this malnutrition problem. Some of the roles of UG are to serve as the local host of the project and facilitate the close collaboration with agents of the Ghanaian government, such as Ghana Health Service and Food and Drug Authority, which is crucial for the success of the joint project. We do hope to create Win-Win situation for all the stake holders thorough this international joint project.
University of Ghana Prof. Kwaku Tano-Debrah Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana
KOKO Plus Helps Improve the Nutritional Balance of Weaning Food Koko, which is a traditional weaning food in Ghana, is a porridge made with fermented corn. This meal does not meet the nutritional requirements recommended by the WHO and other organizations because it is deficient in energy, protein, and micronutrients. In response, we have developed KOKO Plus as a nutrition supplement containing an amino acid to be added to koko in the cooking process to cover the nutritional deficiency of the meal. After conducting tests on preservation stability and surveys on taste, we obtained approvals from the government of Ghana to conduct tests to confirm the nutritional effect of the supplement and to manufacture the product. We are now proceeding with tests to confirm the nutritional effect, as well as conducting pilot sales of the product to build up a necessary distribution model in villages. We plan to start selling the product full scale in the fiscal year of 2014.
Organizations Participating The Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project
Ghana Health Service established within Ghana's Ministry of Health provides education on health and nutrition across the country.
International NGO aiming to help reduce poverty through activities to support empowerment of women and children.
Royal DSM N.V. is a multinational company based in the Netherlands and is engaged in life sciences and the material science business.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency serves as the central organization for the implementation of Japan's official development assistance (ODA) projects.
University of Ghana
The largest national university, located in Accra,the capital of Ghana.
International NGO conducting regional development projects with local children in 50 developing countries.
Yedent Agro Group of Companies Ltd. / A food company in Ghana, which has implemented projects jointly with the UN World Food Programme and GAIN.
USA I D
United States Agency for I n t e r n a t i o n a l D e ve l o p m e n t , provides d e ve lop ment sup por t and humanitarian assistance to developing countries and economies in transition.
Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation, NPO established in the United States by Prof. Nevin Scrimshaw for nutrition improvement in the world.
GA I N
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, NPO committed to solving the world's nutrition problems by fostering public and private cooperation and cooperation among companies.
Exp Social Marketing is a social marketing company headquartered in South Africa and conducts business in 17 countries across Africa.
Inquiries : CSR Department, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. Address: 15-1, Kyobashi 1-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8315, Japan Tel : +81-3-5250-8165
Fax : +81-3-5250-8314
E-mail : [email protected]
URL : http://www.ajinomoto.com/en/activity/csr/
We publish Sustainability Report from FY2012 to report our CSR & environmental activities.
Printed on paper made with wood from forest thinning. “Morino Chonai-Kai” (Forest Neighborhood Association)Supporting sound forest management.
All rights reserved. © Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (2013)
This report is printed on Forest Stewardship Council TM (FSC TM) certified paper, which is made from trees grown in responsibly managed forests
Vegetable-based ink derived from vegetable oil and n o n -VOC ink were used in the printing of this publication, in order to reduce the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a cause of air pollution.