Two medical charities have built plants in Haiti to produce an enriched form of peanut butter used to treat malnutrition, potentially far exceeding the need or demand and sparking complaints from one of the groups, according to NPR.
Meds and Food for Kids, or MFK, recently opened its factory, which sells its output to Unicef for distribution to hospitals in the poverty-stricken island nation. Global aid group Partners in Health will finish its plant by the end of the year and will offer its product directly to Haitians for free.
Pat Wolff, a St. Louis pediatrician who launched MFK in 2003 specifically to make the peanut product in Haiti, said she was contacted by the much larger Partners in Health in 2006 and shared her recipes and technology. After MFK raised $3.2-million to build a major plant in the Caribbean nation, Partners in Health began its own $6-million project.
“There’s not enough local peanuts, and not enough need for this product in Haiti, to have two factories that hope to be sustainable into the future,” Dr. Wolff said.
Jonathan Lascher, the manager of Partners in Health’s peanut-butter project, said his group is not competing with MFK. He said the plant’s aims include providing economic opportunities for peanut farmers in its central Haitian base and that if there is excess capacity, Partners in Health will make and sell peanut butter commercially to support its operations.