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Ajinomoto gives ‘Koko’ the go-go to better Ghanaian nutrition

By Shane Starling , 13-Sep-2013

Ajinomoto CEO: “Contributing to nutrition improvement in the world is one of the core missions of Ajinomoto Group.
Ajinomoto CEO: “Contributing to nutrition improvement in the world is one of the core missions of Ajinomoto Group."

Japanese supplier Ajinomoto is upping its efforts to battle under nutrition in the developing world by committing to a programme to reach 200,000 weaning infants in Ghana by 2017.

Ajinomoto’s Koko Plus blend of amino acids and micronutrients is being used to fortify traditional Ghanaian porridge – known as koko.

It wants to reach the 200,000 6-24 month old children via local networks and about 2000 female salespeople that will be employed by Ajinomoto. That represents 20% of the target population.

To help it achive the goal, Ajinomoto has joined Business Call to Action, a body set up in 2008 to incentivize companies to innovate with developmental goals.

“Ajinomoto’s commitment to improving nutritional outcomes for children and expanding distribution efforts to employ rural women as part of their new social business model in Ghana is an important and meaningful endeavor and we are pleased to welcome them to the Business Call to Action,” said Sahba Sobhani, acting program manager, at Business Call to Action.

Ajinomoto is working with the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation and the University of Ghana on the project which will also establish local food production chains, “as the processing of local ingredients in Ghana will support agriculture workers and create jobs.”

The company also expects to create income generating opportunities for women in rural communities by hiring an estimated new 2,000 saleswomen.

Masatoshi Ito, president and CEO of Ajinomoto, said: “Contributing to nutrition improvement in the world is one of the core missions of Ajinomoto Group. We are pleased to expand our commitment and our programs in Ghana to help nourish and build the capacity of Ghana’s child and mother population, who should be leading healthy and productive lives.”

“We expect that participating in BCtA and creating broader partnership will further accelerate our contribution and commitment.”

It is working toward expanding the programme further to include food supplements for pregnant and lactating mothers and school age children.

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