The Hershey Company commits to 100% local sourcing of groundnuts for production of its Vivi school feeding snack by 2018. This program seeks to empower local smallholder farmers while also improving the quality and safety of Ghanas groundnut supply. Vivi is a vitamin and mineral fortified groundnut snack, rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Thiamin, Iodine, Calcium, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Zinc, and Iron, that the Hershey Company and the NGO Project Peanut Butter are manufacturing for distribution through the Ghana School Feeding Program.
The commitment will focus on modernization skills for 7,500 rural groundnut farmers. Key components of the program will include:
-Capacity building and training for local groundnut farmers including appropriate growing techniques and post-harvest storage and treatment
-Constructing a local roasting facility through the rehabilitation of an adjacent building and purchase of a roaster on the existing Energize Learning manufacturing site
-Working with local employees and our partner nonprofit manufacturing partner Project Peanut Butter to implement training on the appropriate roasting techniques
-Establishing a premium price for purchasing the groundnuts as an ingredient for the Vivi product
The Hershey Company is a global leader in manufacturing and distributing confections and snack foods. The Hershey Company will provide world class expertise in groundnut production, roasting, and processing as well as world class food quality and safety standards. In addition, the Hershey Company will provide financial and in-kind resources to rehabilitate the ground-nut roasting facility and to manufacture and distribute the groundnut-based snack, Vivi, to schoolchildren with one of our supplier partners in the region.
-Procurement process for purchasing the roaster
-Identify appropriate roaster and location for roasting facility
-Identification of local farmers and aggregators
-Design training curriculum
-Initial training on agricultural best practices
-Begin rehabilitation of local roasting facility
-Continue with farmer training on agricultural best practices
-Continue rehabilitation of local roasting facility
-Establish aggregation and distribution process for procuring locally sourced groundnuts
-Finish roasting facility
-Yields begin to increase begin locally sourcing groundnuts
-Local roasting begins
-School feeding program begins using locally sourced groundnuts
-Expect to be at 25% of local sourcing
-Expansion of roasting and sourcing capabilities reach 50% local sourcing
-Expansion of roasting and sourcing capabilities reach 100% local sourcing
While Ghana has a long history of producing groundnuts, known in the U.S. as peanuts, farmers lack access to formal markets and commercial buyers due to quality and food safety issues, and as a result have struggled with low incomes. Without access to formal markets, farmers have little financial incentive to invest in the agricultural best practices that will ensure a safe and quality supply that meet global health standards and the requirements for commercial use. For example, farmers are not currently incentivized to reduce aflatoxins, a naturally occurring carcinogen that is a risk factor in groundnuts as well as other crops. Finally, Ghana does not have an established infrastructure to properly roast and process peanuts for commercial use, limiting the opportunities for value added production and higher income generation of local farmers.
Since June 2015, the Hershey Company has been manufacturing a groundnut-based protein snack called Vivi for Ghanas school feeding programs and has been sourcing its groundnuts from the United States in order to ensure high-quality, aflatoxin-free ingredients. However, new investments in local groundnut farmers can increase local quality and enable Hershey to source the groundnuts from local smallholders, ultimately improving livelihoods.
The goal of sourcing local groundnuts builds on Hersheys existing Energize Learning program, which provides basic nutrition to help children in Ghanas schools learn and grow. Though Ghana has seen significant improvements in economic growth and various human development indicators in recent years, the country continues to struggle with challenges related to child health, including under-nutrition and deficiencies in iron, iodine, zinc and vitamin A. High rates of micronutrient deficiencies indicate that there is poor diversity in diets and there is a great need to make sure that diverse and nutritious meals are available and accessible to children and their families.
The Hershey Company is seeking partners that will provide financial and in-kind resources to help expand this program to reach more groundnut farmers and expand production of Vivi.
The Hershey Company is offering financing, expertise in growing, producing, and roasting groundnuts, distribution, expertise in food science and nutrition, and a relationship with the Ghana School Feeding Program.