Tifton Gazette

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November 25, 2011

MANA peanut plant will get support

Special formula peanut butter to help save starving children

FITZGERALD — Peanut Proud, Inc. of Blakely and the National Peanut Buying Points Association and others have pledged support for the new MANA plant in Fitzgerald and want to help secure its future in providing a special formula peanut butter for nutritional packets to save starving children around the world.

Already, USDA has ordered $4.4 million of product that will provide a nutritious packet to 70,000 starving kids.

Tyron Spearman of The Spearman Agency and Mr. Peanut himself stated, “We’ve been working for years to get USDA to approve a peanut butter nutrition formula for the U.S. Aid program. We’ve always wanted the government to give product, not money that just gets lost, especially when you have excess product. Recently, USDA purchased $4.4 million in peanut butter formula for the U.S. AID Food for Peace program. We just want the MANA plant to be able to continue to compete against other nutrition products ordered by the government.

“I think this is the new frontier for expansion in the peanut industry. World population is expected to double by 2050 and that means more opportunities for peanuts and peanut butter. Maybe our farmers will plant more next season and we’ll have plenty next year.”

The problem is that the drought and the short peanut crop have caused peanut prices to skyrocket, making it difficult to buy raw shelled peanuts in the market for making the nutritious Ready to Use Therapeutic (RUTF) peanut butter. These higher prices make it difficult to be competitive with other formula products that USDA purchases.

Some of the industry leaders are concerned these factors could keep the new ultramodern MANA plant from maximizing opportunities to produce this life-saving formula. This has happened at a time when the peanut leadership has been working for years trying to expand this segment of the peanut market. Leaders say they know they have the right product for the right time with the right nutrition to save lives.

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