ATLANTA – A Georgia-based therapeutic food producer celebrated the breaking ground on an expansion adding new jobs.
Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that MANA Nutrition, a Georgia-based nonprofit that produces ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to fight global malnutrition, celebrated breaking ground on an expansion of their Ben Hill County facility. With more than $36 million in investment, this is the company’s largest expansion investment to date. MANA will also add 10 new jobs, bringing the company’s employment in the county to 80.
“It’s great to see the amazing work done by hardworking Georgians in Ben Hill County,” said Governor Kemp. “We are excited to watch MANA Nutrition serve communities in need worldwide with products from our state’s no. 1 agriculture industry. We have been laser-focused on creating impactful opportunities across the state, and jobs like these will be good for the local community for years to come.”
The new expansion will increase MANA’s production of ready-to-use therapeutic food three-fold and mark MANA’s first step in addressing malnutrition in the United States. These RUTFs are composed of peanut paste, milk, and a special mix of vitamins and minerals and are distributed globally to fight malnutrition. Since its creation in 2009, MANA has helped nearly 5.5 million children and is predicted to feed an additional 1 million in 2022 alone.
“At Mana we are proud to harness two of Georgia’s greatest strengths: people and peanuts, to serve and feed the world. We are proud that our small, rural community is one of the world’s largest suppliers of Ready to Use Food for malnourished children,” said Mark Moore, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of MANA Nutrition. “This upgrade to our facility will allow us to feed up to 3 million children a year. Hopefully our effort is an inspiration to others who might not have much, but can do what they can with what they have to make our world a better place.”
MANA Nutrition will construct a 38,000-square-foot addition to its existing facility at 189 Seaboard Road in Fitzgerald. The expansion will facilitate increased RUTF production and add a new jar line to serve the domestic market. Currently, the facility can produce up to 121,000 pounds of RUTF per day, which is enough to feed 4,000 children suffering from malnutrition for six weeks. The organization will be hiring for a variety of positions to fill business needs, and interested individuals can apply at email@example.com or call 855 GET-MANA.
“Feeding the world from rural Georgia is not a new concept. The manner in which Mana Nutrition is doing it is,” said Jason Dunn, Director of the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Development Authority. “Through the combination of Georgia Grown peanuts and the state-of-the-art production of life-saving therapeutic foods, Mana’s continued investment in Fitzgerald is not only strengthening, but also expanding the reach of Georgia’s ag legacy.”
Senior Project Manager Elizabeth McLean represented the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s (GDEcD) Global Commerce team on this project in partnership with the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Development Authority.
“Agriculture has long been the backbone of Georgia’s economy, and it is extremely gratifying to know that MANA Nutrition will leverage our expertise in agriculture and logistics assets to help feed those in need around the world,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Congratulations to our partners in Fitzgerald for their efforts to support this exciting project that will not only benefit Georgians, but people around the globe.”
Georgia leads the nation in the production of peanuts, eggs, and boilers. In 2020, Georgia peanuts were planted on more than 800,000 acres throughout Georgia and accounted for 53% of peanut production in the United States. Seventy-six of Georgia’s 159 counties have peanut farms, with an average yield of more than 4,100 pounds per acre. Many companies – including Pilgrim’s Pride, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola and Tyson – source their products directly from Georgia farms and operations.
About MANA Nutrition
MANA Nutrition produces ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a fortified peanut paste designed specifically to treat children diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition (SAM). On average, three packets of MANA per day for six weeks will save the life of a starving child. MANA Nutrition also seeks to spread awareness of SAM and find creative ways to get RUTF to the millions of children who need it each year. For more information, please visit www.mananutrition.org.