New partnership eyes 'Koko Plus' for Ghana

    A child benefits from a feeding program in Ghana. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Ajinomoto Co., Inc will collaborate to address malnutrition in the country. Photo by: CIMMYT / CC BY-NC-SA

    Two donor agencies and a Japanese food corporation have agreed to work together to address malnutrition among babies between 6 months and 2 years in Ghana.

    The U.S. Agency for International Development, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Ajinomoto Co. Inc. signed a memorandum of collaboration May 30 in Accra. The three will be working closely to market “Koko Plus,” a nutritional supplement made from locally produced soybeans and fortified with vitamins and lysine, an essential amino acid.

    Ajinomoto, in collaboration with a local food company and the University of Ghana, will produce Koko Plus under the partnership. In addition, the food corporation plans to provide funding to test and evaluate the product’s effectiveness in improving children’s nutrition.

    USAID, for its part, will offer funding and technical assistance to help create a distribution model to promote Koko Plus. This will be provided under the Global Development Alliance, USAID’s public-private partnership scheme. JICA, meanwhile, plans to continue providing assistance and help launch a marketing survey and develop a business plan to increase the product’s sales in Ghana.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.