Strengthening the local production of fortified complementary foods in Haiti

Case Studies
Agriculture, Food Security, Nutrition
Latin America & Caribbean
Publication Dates:
December, 2013
Content Formats:

This is one of 50 Harvesting Nutrition project case studies. Harvesting Nutrition was a contest held in 2012 and 2013 that showcased active projects working to improve the impact of agriculture and/or food security on nutrition outcomes. Co-sponsors were SecureNutrition, Save the Children UK, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Learn More.

Project Description:

Expected Impact: to increase the nutritional outcomes of infants in rural households by providing affordable and sustainable access to a high quality, culturally acceptable, and locally produced Fortified Complementary Foods, that promotes optimal infant feeding practices.  Other outcomes include increased agricultural incomes and productivity through the development of agricultural value chains.

The research phase will be coordinated through the Research Department CREVADEL affiliated with the University Notre Dame d’ Haiti (UNDH) and with the technical support of WFP and the University of Milano (Italy).  The objective is to identify the ideal formulation and composition for an infant food supplement comprised of locally produced flours, and legumes (such as rice, maize, sorghum, manioc, beans and peanuts). This culturally acceptable product will be fortified with micronutrients in order to meet WHO standards for FCF, food safety standards, and fall within an affordable market price of 0.10 US$ per meal (35g of dry product).

The second phase will focus on the production, promotion and commercialization of this infant food supplement.  At UNDH, an experimental production lab will be setup / equipped with milling and roasting facilities, and test equipment to analyze both raw materials and finished products for quality and safety.

In synergy with National Nutrition Campaigns, AVSI continually promotes infant nutrition.  In conjunction, marketing plans will be executed to promote the product.  Through AVSI’s agricultural programs, agricultural value chains are being promoted to ensure local farmers grow the needed local flours and legumes which increases rural incomes.  

Impact of project:

As the project is currently in its research phase, no data has yet been collected to measure against the nutritional baseline data for the catchment area.  However, based on existing evidence obtained by similar approaches and from our own anecdotal experience of working in the area for the last 14 years, we know that  increasing one or more rural livelihood indicators will have a substantial effect on the overall health and nutritional status of the target population.  This project has great potential to increase multiple livelihood indicators such as increased household income, enhanced knowledge and status of women, and improved infant dietary diversity, through a market based approach which includes access to affordable food supplements and increased uptake of the food supplement through advertising and promotion, and nutritional awareness campaigns.

During the monitoring and evaluation phases, the project will be assessed on indicators related to infant diet diversity and quality.  Other indicators such as household purchasing of the local food supplement, agriculture based incomes, and household awareness of the causes of malnutrition will also be captured.  This project will work closely with AVSI’s agricultural programs in the area which are overseeing the implementation of the agricultural value chains to encourage local market based solutions to the problem of malnutrition.

Why this project is a Good Practice example: ​

Agriculture has a crucial role in the provision of food and income for the rural populations. Although investments to enhance agriculture productivity are crucial for long-term food security, it does not address the issue of access to nutritious and diverse foods that are vital, especially for infants aged 6 to 24 who are being weaned, and are in this critical window of vulnerability and opportunity to ensurehealthy brain and body development.

In order to maximize the link between the nutritional and agricultural sectors, we focus on a food value chain strategy, as an entry point to stimulate both supply and demand among rural populations for specific fortified complementary foods.

The nutritionals impacts of our intervention are enhanced by:

  • Addressing crucial underlying determinants of nutrition (poverty, food insecurity, scarcity of access to adequate resources)
  • Careful identification of a dietary gap in the target population and effective implementation of interventions to address the problem
  • Targeting on the basis of nutritional vulnerability, in addition to geographic targeting on the basis of poverty, food insecurity and rural location
  • Using the promotion and marketing program as a delivery platforms for IYCF educational messages, increasing the effectiveness, coverage, and scale of nutrition-specific behavior-change interventions
  • Focusing on women’s role (social status, decision making, and their overall empowerment) as key mediators in the pathways between agriculture inputs, intra-household resource allocation and child nutrition
  • Developing a versatile, solution oriented experimental model that can be replicated at large scale

Impact Evaluation:


Lessons Learned: ​

Capital Investment 
To date, we have realized the critical importance of providing adequate initial financial support to the local manufacturing sector to improve their roasting and milling facilities. This initial capital investment ensures a higher quality and quantity of production and assists the producers to become autonomous.

Marketing Campaigns to Increase Demand 
Education of the target population, particularly mothers of young children, and affordability are key determinants to increase and sustain product demand.  While NGO support is helpful in launching the product, it will only be successful if it can be sustained through a business model.

Supply Chain Management 
The challenges in supply chain management in rural Haiti include uncertainty in supply and demand, and working with global transport companies. These challenges have highlighted the need to develop a very good production planning.

Quality Control 
Due to low product quality standards, quality control has been a big issue with our producers. We are working with WFP to define quality standards that need to be met before producers can become eligible business partners.  Monitoring, mentoring and training of current partners are key components of the project.

Scalability and Replication 
The overall success of this project will depend on its ability to develop a sound agricultural value chain model that can be scaled up and replicated in different parts of the country. This includes capacity building to increase the production and technical capacity of others manufacturers to cope with regional demands and to promote the idea of encouraging free market competition.

Funders: World Food Program (WFP)

Primary Contact: Federica Pozzi, Project Manager, AVSI Nutrition and Health Country Coordinator

Country: Haiti

Project Dates: Research Phase: September 2013 – December 2013, Production & Operative Phase: January 2014- June 2014

Interventions: Assess the context at the local level, Target the vulnerable and improve equity, Empower women, Incorporate nutrition promotion and education,

Target Population: Children 6 to 36 months, Rural farmers, Mothers,

Project Stage: Beginning of implementation

Geographic Coverage: Village/Municipality