On March 15, 2021, in Antananarivo, the Fitia Association, chaired by the First Lady of the Republic of Madagascar Mialy R. Rajoelina, the Mérieux Foundation and the Nutriset Group signed a partnership agreement to set up a nutritional solutions manufacturing plant in Fort Dauphin for schoolchildren in the southern region of Madagascar.
With a production capacity of 600 tons per year (or 8 million sachets), this production unit will meet the needs of 50,000 children in school canteens in the Anosy and Androy regions.
This plant will contribute to the fight against malnutrition in these two regions of Madagascar where, according to the World Food Programme, 750,000 people are in a nutritional crisis. According to the National Nutrition Office of Madagascar (ONN), 35% of children in the Anosy region are stunted.
"This project will enable schoolchildren in the Anosy region to learn better through better nutrition. We are all part of a better future for these children here," said Adeline Lescanne-Gautier, General Manager of Nutriset Group
Composed of three pre-equipped containers, this "turnkey" plant is an original industrial solution, developed by the Nutriset Group for small or medium-scale production, in support of highly localized operations. This innovative tool is designed and equipped to meet the latest international quality standards.
Mialy R. Rajoelina, First Lady of Madagascar and President of the Fitia Association, said: "In addition to its nutritional impact, the installation of the plant in Fort Dauphin will create direct jobs for the local population."
This project also aims to rely on local agricultural sectors for its production, which will be revitalized in order to supply the raw materials: maize, rice, peanuts... This project aims to promote the empowerment of women in the region, which will be a recruiting ground.
This project was initiated by Alain Mérieux, President of the Mérieux Foundation, following his meeting with President Malagasy Andry Rajoelina during the latter's visit to the Global Fund meeting in Lyon in October 2019.
The factory container designed and manufactured by Nutriset was financed by the Christophe and Rodolphe Mérieux Foundation, financial partner of the Mérieux Foundation, to the tune of 850,000 euros.
"I am pleased that our Foundation, in collaboration with Nutriset, has been able to provide a solution to the problem of child malnutrition in southern Madagascar," notes Alain Mérieux, President of the Mérieux Foundation.
Since the Mérieux Foundation has been established in Madagascar for more than ten years, Alain Mérieux wished to help in support of the public health priority identified by the President of Madagascar: malnutrition, particularly severe in the south of the country.
To this end, he called on the Nutriset Group, renowned globally for its expertise in the fight against malnutrition, to manufacture a container plant dedicated to the production of food supplements.
For the Group, it was important that, in addition to providing nutritional solutions for children, the project also contributed to local economic development. This is the underlying approach to the partnerships it has initiated since 2005 through PlumpyField, a network of local manufacturers of Nutriset products based in 9 programmatic countries.
"We are convinced that being present in the south of the island will contribute to the development of agricultural sectors. This is a project that will contribute to the long-term development of the region," explains Michel Lescanne, Founder and Chairman of the Nutriset Group
The plant is currently in maritime transit to Fort Dauphin, the capital of the province of Anosy, where the Fitia Association will operate it with technical assistance provided by the Nutriset Group. The plant's operators will be trained on how to run and maintain the unit, and to ensure the quality of the production process.
Food products made by this container-based unit will be distributed free of charge to students by the Fitia Association.