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(cross-posted at kickin it with cg and motley moose)

I wrote the original diary on this topic almost a year ago to the day and thought perhaps that it was a topic worthy of revisiting.

Every year, malnutrition kills five million children - that's one child every six seconds.  'Many do not get vitamins and minerals their developing bodies need. Further, some mothers in these villages can't produce enough milk themselves and can't afford to buy it. Even if milk was available, its very difficult to store -- there’s no electricity, so no refrigeration. Powdered milk is useless because most don't have clean water.'

However 'Doctors Without Borders' or 'Médecins Sans Frontières' believes that there is a product that can save millions of these children.  And could possibly be the most important advance ever to cure and prevent malnutrition.


Plumpy'nut.

A ready-to-eat, vitamin-enriched paste - it's cheap, easy to make, and extremely easy to use.  It is a simple formula: made of peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. It tastes like a peanut butter and is very sweet. 'Developed by a nutritionist, it does not require refrigeration, water, or cooking; it is simply squeezed out in a paste and thus many children can even feed themselves.

Each serving is the equivalent of a glass of milk and a multivitamin.'

In Niger, West Africa, where child malnutrition is widespread, 'Doctors Without Borders' has been distributing Plumpy'nut.  This was covered in a segment by 60 Minutes.

On a list of 177 developing countries, the United Nations ranked Niger dead last. More than 70% of the people are illiterate and earn less than a dollar a day. The average woman will give birth at least eight times in her life. But largely because of malnutrition, one in five of their children will die before they reach the age of five. Of those who survive, half will have stunted growth and never reach full adult height.

Niger has become Plumpy'nut's proving ground. A daily dose costs about $1; small factories mix it there and in three other African countries.  In Niger, most children need help now during what’s called the "hunger season," just before the new harvest. Old food supplies have run out and about all that’s left is millet, a basic grain women pound for porridge. But millet doesn’t have enough nutrients to keep kids alive; in the western world it is used it as birdseed.

Dr. Susan Shepherd, a pediatrician who runs Doctors Without Borders in Niger, says children that would have been hospitalized in the past can now be treated at home. "The reason we can do that is because we can give children Plumpy'nut here in the ambulatory center, and they take a week’s ration home. Moms treat their children at home and come back every week for a weight check," Dr. Shepherd explained.

Children are weighed and measured at the distribution sites. They're also examined to make sure they don't have any serious infections. Malnutrition destroys a child's immune system, so they're more susceptible to diseases and less capable of recovering from them.

If Plumpy'nut is the answer, how come kids are still dying?

"The answer is getting to kids earlier," Shepherd says. "Once children are as sick as she is, Plumpy'nut is not gonna save her."

What about peanut allergies?

"We just don't see it.  In developing countries food allergy is not nearly the problem that it is in industrialized countries."

Fortified ready-to-eat products, like Plumpy'nut, save children's lives. nutritional specialist for Médecins Sans Frontières, Dr. Milton Tectonidis says if the more countries were willing to spend part of their food aid on this, more companies will start making it.

"Even by taking a miniscule proportion of the global food aid budget, they will have a huge impact, huge impact!" Tectonidis says. "We're not even asking for billions. It will solve so much of the underlying useless death. So we gotta do that now."

"Wasted life. Just totally wasted life for nothing. Because they don't have this product, a little bit of peanut butter with vitamins," Tectonidis says. "What a waste."

Médecins Sans Frontières is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural or man-made disasters.

Originally posted to canadian gal on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 12:36 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  the problem isn't about finding food (17+ / 0-)

    We have the food, food is being thrown away or deliberately not produced around the world to maintain its value. Food is basically free at this point, Canada could supply the entire world with wheat for instance. But in order to preserve its value, we have to force people to buy it by threatening them with starvation, and to artificially keep the quantities low so as not to flood the market. Unless this artificial scarcity regime is overturned, people will continue starving, even in developed countries, as a means to maintain the value of overl abundant commodities.

    Of course we will have Fascism in America, but we will call it Democracy. - Senator Huey Long

    by Marcion on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 12:48:20 PM PDT

    •  Puts a whole new spin on (6+ / 0-)

      farm subsidies, don't it?

    •  agreed (10+ / 0-)

      I would just add the caveat that - I know you're not suggesting Canada grow all the world's wheat) - industrial farming can exhaust soil to the point where the expense (ecologically) of fertilizer is beyond possible. Plus the carbon cost of wide distribution is regressive and ecologically problematic.  It's not free to do industrial agriculture.

      Local production has to be a part of the solution, not just Plumpy'nut =)

      "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

      by SteveP on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:06:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are right (7+ / 0-)

        I was just using that as an example to point out that all of humanity's food needs could be met rather easily if effort was applied. If it is carried out rationally and crops are rotated and different areas aroudn the world utilized, it would not have to come at a high environmental cost. And any local production would be useful to supplement large scale agriculture, reducing the need for it. I don't believe that at this time local small scale agriculture has the capacity to meet of the world's demand, correct me if I'm wrong.

        Of course we will have Fascism in America, but we will call it Democracy. - Senator Huey Long

        by Marcion on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:10:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's possible (7+ / 0-)

          There would have to be a transition of course since so much local agriculture has been eliminated and because so much acreage has been lost to erosion, the effects of industrial agriculture and so on.

          It's been shown that organic agriculture can match fertilzed rates and there are some lessons to be learned from pre-colombian Americas - something called Milpas which maintain a soils fertility by growing a combination of crops within an area (beans, squash, peppers maize and so on), these Milpas have been successfully transplanted into wide geographic areas by adjusting the mix of crops within the system to reflect local growing conditions and large scale Milpas are possible as well. Milpas have very high yields per acre without using industrial methods.

          It's not that you would necessarily use Milpas everywhere, but the idea that you can achieve essentially industrial rate yields without fertilizer and without industrial methods probably means such ideas could be migrated to meet local conditions many places.

          Of course, the world population can;t go on expanding forever or there's no point in even talking about it.

          I'm not an expert - but I am hopeful that creative thinking might get us there...or nearly there.

          "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

          by SteveP on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:20:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There has to be some sort of fertilizer (5+ / 0-)

            doesn't there? Even if it's simply letting the field lie fallow and planting a nitrogen fixing crop, one can't continually take crops out without replenishing the soil.

            Do you have a good link for the idea of Milpas? I'd like to look into it.

            •  I don;t know the exact mechanics (4+ / 0-)

              there is some fallow, but rotating the crops around means it almost never has to left fallow - maybe it's the plants left to compost or something. There are places in Central and South America that have been in constant cultivation for 1000 years.

              Charles Mann's 1491 has a great account of this amidst an ESSENTIAL read on pre-colombian culture.

              "you have the right to your own opinion. You do not have the right to your own facts" -Daniel Patrick Moynihan

              by SteveP on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:45:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Basic concept (3+ / 0-)

                You need at least three fields.

                Plant in one field a nitrogen depleting crop (or crops), that is essentially any non-legume.

                In the second field plant grasses for grazing livestock.

                In the third plant nitrogen fixers, such as legumes (beans, alfalfa, peanuts).

                Rotate the fields every growing season. Compost the animal waste as fertilizer.

                The fields require no outside fertilizer and are only fallow for the winter and physical rotation period.

            •  We produce a great fertilizer. (0+ / 0-)

              All those nutrients, flushed away. Of course the herbivores produce the best one. And diluted urine is a great nitrogen source. Organic and locally produced too.

              Only that day dawns to which we are awake... Henry David Thoreau

              by graycat13 on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 02:11:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  there are issues.... (4+ / 0-)

                using human was as fertilizer.  Including cyst like cryptosporidium and heavy metals.  Milorganite http://www.milorganite.com/... is one such fertilizer, but not recommended for crops because of heavy metal contents.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 03:52:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Homemade" fertilizer. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JeffW, graycat13

                  Human waste can be used as fertilizer after lengthy composting that gives pathogens time to die.  This requires two years in temperate regions according to the Humanure Handbook because the pile freezes over the winter.  In a tropical country such as Niger, it would probably take less time because there's no freezing.  
                  Milorganite(R) is processed sewage sludge, containing anything that got into the Milwaukee sewer system.  (Batteries, bottle caps, paint?)  It's not the same thing as composted pure feces and urine with added dead leaves and straw to absorb excess moisture.  

                  Renewable energy brings national security.

                  by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  There is. (0+ / 0-)

              Legumes attract nitrogen-fixing bacteria;  farmers will often alternate between soybean and corn production to keep the levels of soil nitrogen high enough.  Here is how the "Three Sisters" interact.

              The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, monopolizing the sunlight to prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a "living mulch," creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore together they provide a balanced diet.

              One note about corn/maize:  it needs to undergo a process called "nixtamalization", which at its heart is cooking in an alkali solution in order to liberate the niacin within.  The ashes of certain trees work well.  

              2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

              by Yamaneko2 on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 12:09:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Sanitation is a real problem. (10+ / 0-)

      We are talking about places that have no refrigeration and contaminated water.

      http://www.worldchanging.com/...

      Unlike previous concoctions to feed starving children, Plumpy nut does not have to be mixed with water.

    •  Sad and true...the problem is finding money for (0+ / 0-)

      food...capitalism frequently kills. And globalization forces people to grow crops they cannot eat, for export, and import food at inflated costs. People who never grew anything, and will never eat the staple foods grown where they will not be eaten, grow fat and rich on the corpses of these children.

      •  Not a problem in Niger. (3+ / 0-)

        Agriculture in Niger wiki

        Most food grown in Niger is eaten in Niger.    Surplusses of livestock, when available, tend to be exported across a convenient border to another African country.  Niger used to import rice, but now grows its own along rivers.

        Exporting food (or anything!) from Niger produces serious logistical problems.  Niger's road and rail system is poor.  The nation is landlocked and its neighbors' infrastructures leave much to be desired.  So, whatever agricultural products manage to get exported tend to leave Niger on their own four feet.

        The problem, again, is that only 15% of the country gets more than 300 mm of rain per year, and the amount falling each year varies tremendously.  

        Now, considering that occasionally livestock is in surplus, sorghum can be made into a sweetener and groundnuts are grown, perhaps the NGOs should consider setting up local factories to produce the Plumpy-Nut from locally-grown groundnuts, sorghum and dried milk, perhaps with vitamins and minerals imported from another African country.

        2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

        by Yamaneko2 on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 12:45:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This sounds like a good idea. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, socalmonk

          Now, considering that occasionally livestock is in surplus, sorghum can be made into a sweetener and groundnuts are grown, perhaps the NGOs should consider setting up local factories to produce the Plumpy-Nut from locally-grown groundnuts, sorghum and dried milk, perhaps with vitamins and minerals imported from another African country.

          The wrappers would probably also have to be imported.  Improving the rail system would make it easier to move the ingredients in and finished product out.

          Renewable energy brings national security.

          by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 06:34:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I thought this was another Rush Limbaugh diary... (14+ / 0-)

    tips for saving kids.

    Deferment Dick -The Happy Torturer

    by Mr Magu on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 12:50:39 PM PDT

  •  Love the Plumpy Nut! (21+ / 0-)

    I don't mean I've eaten it and love it - I mean I've seen the stories on it, how cheap and easy and effective it is, and I love to send money to Doctors Without Borders in order to help them distribute it.  

    You cannot change this. You can't erase this. You can't pretend this is not the truth. --Melissa Etheridge

    by LisaR on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 12:53:55 PM PDT

  •  they used to serve something very similar to this (11+ / 0-)

    when I was in elementary school.  It was peanut butter and sugar, not thick enough to be a bar, but not thin enough to be a pudding.  I loved it.

    Doctors without Borders is awesome.

    Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

    by Sychotic1 on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:11:47 PM PDT

    •  With powdered milk, and rolled into "dough balls" (7+ / 0-)

      is how I remember it.  Here's a recipe for no-bake peanut butter balls:

      What you need:
      Sifter
      Measuring cup
      Mixing bowl
      Waxed paper
      Powdered sugar
      Nonfat powdered milk
      White corn syrup or honey
      Smooth peanut butter

      What you do:

      First, wash your hands really well with soap and water! We don't want to get germs in our cookies!

      1. Measure 1 cup of peanut butter into the mixing bowl.
      1. Add 1 cup of corn syrup (or you can use honey).
      1. Add 1 1/4 cups of nonfat powdered milk.
      1. Use your sifter and put 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar into the sifter and sift into the bowl and mixture.  

      Stir the ingredients with your big mixing spoon the best you can.
      Use your hands and knead the dough - press it down and pull it apart. Press it all together and keep rolling it over and over.
      Take one glob of dough at a time and round it into a ball in your hands.
      Put the balls on your wax paper.
      You have no-bake peanut butter cookies!

      A Wall Street "bonus" should not be more than what my house is currently worth.

      by bushondrugs on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 08:40:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is great. (4+ / 0-)

    Although people will still starve, this goes a long way in helping prevent that.

    Proud Democrat. Proud American.

    by bluedonkey08 on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:29:14 PM PDT

  •  Important diary topic (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks for bringing important info to this forum. I loved the 60 Minutes piece.

    Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails instead of their tongues. -Anonymous

    by gloryous1 on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:34:57 PM PDT

  •  such a simple, wonderful lifesaver (10+ / 0-)

    In our part of the world, it seems incredible that peanut paste can save lives.  

    I was intrigued about its use in Niger.  A friend lived there and spoke of the dust, the poverty and the heartbreak of seeing women dumped on clinic doorsteps, bleeding after birth gone wrong.  And the millet- S. reported that the wheat flour towards the end of the season was more weevils than grain and the bugs had to be sifted out but still, the bread would have a terrible taste.

    Thank you for posting this diary as we too often forget how desperate living is in some parts of the world.

    Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science. Robert Green Ingersoll

    by offred on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 01:41:39 PM PDT

  •  I remember that 60 Min piece from last year. (9+ / 0-)

    Isn't it amazing what can be accomplished with so simple an idea.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 02:23:00 PM PDT

  •  The recipe for PlumpyNut... (4+ / 0-)

    ...should be open-sourced and widely distributed.

    There are other people for whom such a substance would be useful. I am thinking of Cancer and AIDS patients who have wasting syndrome. Unless that person has a peanut allergy or has an aversion to the taste of peanut butter such a substance would be appealing and easy to digest.

    Single Payer Happy Hour, returning to the LA (SFV) area 7/31/09!
    No more SPECIAL RIGHTS for HETEROSEXUALS! Equality now!

    by Pris from LA on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 04:56:12 PM PDT

    •  Plumpy'nut's recipe is patented. No kidding. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue, Karl Rover, canadian gal

      link.

      I really should patent my won-ton recipe. I make the world's best won-ton. (I don't make them very often, they make the other won-ton in the world feel bad..)

      Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

      by Jacques on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 08:35:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  P.S. At least, in the US, plumpy'nut (3+ / 0-)

        is a Creative Commons patent.

        Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

        by Jacques on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 08:37:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what does that mean exactly? (0+ / 0-)

          "Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather Boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

          by canadian gal on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 08:39:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Short answer: Yes, we own the patent/copyright (4+ / 0-)

            but you can use it if you let people know we own the rights and don't make a fortune off of our idea. You can also change, or modify what we have provided, but anything you do also comes under the Creative commons license.
            I suppose the most common example is Linux, a computer OS that anyone can use for free, anyone can modify the source code, as long as you don't get any money from your modifications.

            As far as plumpy'nut, I'd have to read the patent, but my best, uneducated guess is this: Anyone that wants to set up a Plumpy'nut factory is free to use the official recipe, or modify the recipe, as long as they publish their mods. If you sell your product, you have to be a non-profit (You may be sued anyway), or you can't sell it at a profit. What that means is, you can sell it, at cost, and depend on donations or something to keep you, and the people working for you from starving yourselves. Again, IANAL, and I haven't read the US patent.

            Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

            by Jacques on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 08:51:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  P.S. as bushondrugs points out, there is another (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ice Blue, canadian gal

              answer, reverse engineering.

              When IBM had the only personal computers available and running MS-DOS was the cheapest OS around (Bill Gates kept the rights to sell "his" OS, he just licensed it to IBM.) some guys at a company called Compaq "reverse-engineered" a computer that would run IBM's BIOS.

              If you don't want to read the links, and I don't blame you, for Plumpy'nut, what you'd want to do, is get a bunch of nutritionists and food scientists together. (I've worked with both kinds of folks before, have fun!) First, they meet with your lawyers, and your lawyers have to be able to demonstrably claim in a court of law, that none of your people have ever heard of Plumpy'nut. No kidding, down to, they don't usually watch 60 Minutes, don't care about world hunger, have spent their entire careers working on non-peanut butter projects like "Cheetos".

              Then, you describe the target: something that can feed a toddler through an early teen, made with peanut butter, weekly weight gain, no nutritional deficiencies, no refrigeration, no spoilage over a two/three year storage/distribution time. Bonus points for flavor, ability to keep an adult alive for a short period of time (weeks/months) with no supplements, and able to be explained to people whose language you don't speak very well, and are illiterate.

              You lock these folks in a big room, with an attached food lab and two 50-gallon drums of peanut butter (one plain, one crunchy). After three weeks, your team gets access to taste-testers with that silly 4-paper cups with product numbers on them. (No one cares what they think, some loon who works for the guy that's paying you thought this was a good idea.)

              Your test market is some starving country, we have lots, you take a ton of medical supplies, including your best guess at what will work. At first, you're doing allergy tests for each of the ingredients in your mix, and feeding the kids that come in on local cuisine, until the test come back. But after a while, your sigma-s numbers on the allergy tests come back saying, "Fuck it, just feed the kids when they come in!"

              Then, you get sued, but after a million dollars, you win. Congratulations, you've broken the French patent on Plumpy'nut. Ain't life grand?

              Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

              by Jacques on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 09:20:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  P.S. Yes, I added to the design requirements, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                canadian gal

                Plumpynut supposedly only feeds toddlers.

                Can it feed kids to pre-teenage-hood? Or do we need to make a (relatively simple) adjustment in the recipe? Can a slightly enhanced fiber-rich version keep an adult alive during hard times? Not as a steady diet, but say during a Hurricane Katrina? And if a full bar will keep an adult alive during Katrina, can a half bar do for kids?

                Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

                by Jacques on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 10:12:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Groundnuts are an African staple. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  canadian gal

                  Groundnuts are a staple in West Africa, which means that there are probably many ways to prepare them in ways suitable for all stages in life and to the more sophisticated palates of older people.

                  My guess is that if a person of any age is so hungry that the hunger pangs have ceased, Plumpy'nut would be welcome.  No-bake peanut butter cookies have a habit of disappearing as soon as they are set out; the same would happen to Plumpy'nut.  A reduced frequency of bowel movements, in a land with little potable water, is a feature and not a bug.

                  2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

                  by Yamaneko2 on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 01:04:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Umm...not so literate medically, so I dont get (0+ / 0-)

                    how

                    A reduced frequency of bowel movements, in a land with little potable water, is a feature and not a bug.

                    What goes in, must (eventually) come out, no?

                    Remember what FDR said, "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." Have you written/called a congress-critter today? -8.25, -6.21

                    by Jacques on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 05:51:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  But take the refined sugar out of this product. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      liz, canadian gal

      refined sugar is not good for anyone's health. And it is not needed. People in developing countries don't need sweet tastes like Americans do. We have had our tastebuds ruined.

      •  These kids need calories. And sugar is a pure (0+ / 0-)

        natural product. Look up it's preparation sometime. This was worked out by scientists in collaboration with nutritionists with doctors.

        God, the anti science crap here on DKos.

        We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

        by samddobermann on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 09:17:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What do we do? How do we get it to kids (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Ice Blue, canadian gal

    faster? This is amazing.

    ...my father was in the merchant marines and delivered grain to the border of Pakistan and India. He said it took 3 days to load the ship in the US and 3 months to unload it. Most of the food had rotted on the docks. 'course that was in the early 60s. I'm sure distribution is more sophisticated now.

    See my application for a Netroots Nation scholarship. If you're inclined, I could use an endorsement.

    by Muskegon Critic on Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 08:11:32 PM PDT

  •  My kids well remember their hippy mom (8+ / 0-)

    My kids well remember their hippy mom helping them make what we called "funny fudge," which was peanut butter, dry milk and honey mixed and molded into balls or cubes. The kids loved it and it was easy and good for them.

    Just the other day, I saw Alton Brown on "Good Eats" making a version of this, too.

    Peanuts or "ground nuts" have long been a staple of many cultures. This product sounds like a good idea in the short run, but in the long run, people must have water and soil and peace to grow their own food. The money spent on weapons could be feeding millions.

    •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chemicalresult, JeffW, canadian gal

      ... in the long run, people must have water and soil and peace to grow their own food. The money spent on weapons could be feeding millions.

      The reason mothers in Niger can't produce enough milk for their children is because they themselves are malnourished.  The people of Niger could grow peanuts or other beans, planting rice along the rivers during the wet season and peanuts or beans in the same fields during the dry season.  If the fields need irrigation, simple wind or human powered pumps could bring up small amounts of water from the river or wells.  

      The only way any nation will have "water and soil and peace" in perpetuity is by having and using contraception to reduce the birth rate to replacement level.  Plumpy'Nut will help by reducing the death rate among children.  Once people begin to have confidence that all or nearly all of their children will survive to adulthood, they will be willing to have fewer children.  

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 06:03:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One problem not mentioned: the math. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pithy Cherub, ybruti, canadian gal

    Plumpy-nut costs $1 for a day's supply.  The average income is less than a dollar a day, and not all members of a family bring home an income.  

    Another practical problem:  the Sahel is Niger's breadbasket and, if anything, getting drier as Earth's climate changes.  Niger will always have difficulty feeding itself;  the trick for Niger will be to get fairly paid for its mineral wealth so it can purchase food from outside.  

    Fortunately, the nation is a democratic republic with elections that are free and fair.  

    2009: Year of the Donkey. Let's not screw it up.

    by Yamaneko2 on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 12:28:32 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting - it's easy to forget (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, chemicalresult, canadian gal

    I think that things like access to health care and equal rights for everyone and environmental protections and EFTA are incredibly important, and I do spent a lot of time and energy advocating for these issues.

    Then, a few times a year, when it's time to make decisions about my charitable donations, I remember that my 2-year-old isn't going to die from malnutrition or from a treatable disease, and I dig deeper into my wallet.

    It's hard to quantify suffering, but seeing one's children die from something completely preventable has got to rank up there with the worst of it.  The donation went off this morning.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  •  Nevermind that it's doing something wonderful... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, canadian gal

    it has to be one of the most adorably-named foods of all time. "Plumpynut"? It couldn't be any cuter. I love it.

  •  I am proud to say that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann, ybruti, canadian gal

    I am a permanent monthly contributor to this wonderful organization and that one of the early leaders prior to their winning the Nobel Peace Prize was a graduate of Trent University -- Peterborough, Ontario where I taught for 37 years (though I did not teach him unless it was in a mass lecture).

    I could not resist the plug for our quite small (7000 student) and little known university.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 04:51:19 AM PDT

  •  The first thing I thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemicalresult, canadian gal

    upon reading the comments in here was, "This would be a good way for a teacher to ensure that inner-city schoolkids are getting sufficient nutrition to learn."

    The second thing I thought was, "No school would ever allow it, out of fear of being sued by the parents of the one kid with a peanut allergy."

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 04:51:40 AM PDT

  •  Why does it need to be full of sugar? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canadian gal

    These kids don't NEED the sweet taste, they have not had their tastebuds killed by the food industry.

    Powered milk is also not great, because the fats are oxidized when heated to dry it.

    I hope it helps though.

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