Kraft investing to eradicate malnutrition

by Eric Schroeder
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JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Kraft Foods Inc. has kicked off a $10 million, three-pronged approach to eradicating child malnutrition in Indonesia and Bangladesh with a $3.8 million program in cooperation with Helen Keller International. The program will help families in the East Nusa Tenggara (N.T.T.) region of Indonesia, where 58% of children under age 5 have stunted growth due to malnutrition, and in the Satkhira district of Bangladesh, where about half of the children under age 5 are malnourished.

The program is Kraft’s first major investment as part of Project Laser Beam, a five-year, $50 million public-private partnership led by the U.N. World Food Programme.

“We can end child malnutrition," said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of Kraft Foods. “For our part, we’re employing innovative solutions and investments in sustainable farming, microenterprises and nutrition education to improve food security and provide economic opportunity for Indonesian and Bangladeshi families in need. By working together under Project Laser Beam, we help ensure that these efforts are sustainable and scalable.”

Specifically, Kraft is funding 180 “centers of excellence” for farming in Indonesia and Bangladesh over the next four years. From these centers, thousands of women across N.T.T. and Satkhira will learn sustainable farming practices and receive “start-your-own-farm” supplies (fertilizers, tools). The techniques to be taught will focus on low-cost, environmentally friendly approaches, such as the preparation and use of compost, non-chemical pest control, irrigation, crop rotation, mulching and live fencing.

The program also will provide nutrition education and small business training to help the women sell their surplus crops to create greater economic opportunity for their families.

“We are delighted to partner with Kraft Foods to help reduce malnutrition in the people of rural Eastern Indonesia and Satkhira District in Bangladesh,” said Kathy Spahn, president and c.e.o. of Helen Keller International. “We have seen the profound impact Homestead Food Production has on the nutritional status of participants and are very excited to work with Kraft Foods to extend the reach of this successful program.”
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