Giving Mozambicans access to locally produced nutritious foods

Report
from Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
Published on 14 Jan 2015 View Original

Despite peanuts being produced in Mozambique, nutritious and energy dense peanut butter has been too expensive for many Mozambican consumers – until now.

Xikhaba (pronounced she-kah-bah) is a brand of peanut butter that is produced by small business owner Octávio Muchanga. It is the first local peanut butter brand produced in Mozambique and is supported by GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods.

Most peanut butter sold in Mozambique is imported from South Africa and other countries, so despite the country producing large amounts of peanuts, most people could not afford peanut butter. The establishment of Xikhaba in 2011 meant that Mozambicans now have access to this locally-sourced, nutritious food product.

Muchanga is an experienced metalworker who spent several years working in South Africa before returning to his native Mozambique. He set up Xikhaba with his family in Machava Socimol, just outside Maputo, where the nuts are cleaned, toasted, shelled, and finally ground into peanut butter. The peanut butter is sold in small package sizes, at prices accessible to Mozambican consumers. Muchanga is also establishing a network of salespeople who sell the peanut butter in busy areas of Maputo.

Muchanga found out about GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods and joined GAIN’s Community of Practice in 2013. Through the project’s Innovation Accelerator, Xikhaba has received processing equipment, technical assistance, and improvements to the company’s small production facility.

“In the name of Xikhaba, I would like to express my gratitude to GAIN for the support provided. We have improved our equipment, but we have also learned more about how to run a food processing company and how to respond to the demands of the consumers.”

Muchanga also learned about the importance of testing his products for Aflatoxin, a toxin produced by fungi that can be present in peanuts and other crops.

“We now know that in order to deliver better quality products, we have to test our products at the laboratory. Since we are members of the Community of Practice, we have improved the way our product is packaged and labelled and we have increased our sales. My family is proud of what we have made in the last year,” he said.

Daniel Alberts, Program Manager at GAIN said: “The Xikhaba brand demonstrates the potential for transforming locally-produced agricultural commodities into nutritious foods that are both available and accessible to low-income Mozambicans. GAIN, through the USAID-funded Marketplace for Nutritious Foods, is proud to support this small enterprise, which provides both economic and nutritional development in Mozambique.”

Peanuts, or ground nuts, are an energy-dense and nutritious food, rich in proteins and micronutrients. They are commonly produced in Mozambique. While peanut butter is a new product for many Mozambicans, ground nuts are traditionally included in other traditional Mozambican foods.