In Myanmar, the prevalence of underweight and stunting among children under five is around 33 percent. WFP is seeking to address this through its operation, Improving the Food Security, Nutrition Status and Livelihoods of Vulnerable Populations. One element of the project is a Mother and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) programme which aims to alleviate some of the underlying causes of chronic malnutrition and low birth weight.
In early 2011, WFP Myanmar signed an agreement with a local factory in Yangon to produce a new product, a ‘Super Cereal’ called Myanmar Mix, to be used in WFP's nutrition programmes. As the name suggests, ‘Myanmar Mix’ is unique in that it is produced locally. Previously, WFP was using fortified blended food procured internationally. But over time it was observed that by using locally available raw ingredients, WFP could create a product, equally acceptable to beneficiaries’ tastes, that did not need to be transported vast distances and so could keep costs down.
Behind the packaging is another distinctive feature of Myanmar Mix. By using locally procured fortified blended food, the factory is manufacturing an acceptable nutritious product which also stimulates the local economy. Around 40 people at the Gold Power factory work on the production of Myanmar Mix, from making the storage bags, to mixing the ingredients, and filling the sacks at the end of the production line.
In mid-2011, the first batch of 60 metric tons of Myanmar Mix was produced, ready to be distributed to mothers in Northern Rakhine State and to beneficiaries of other WFP activities. Myanmar Mix is provided to people in HIV/TB programmes and in supplementary feeding activities.