The Soybean Nutrition Program works to promote the consumption of soy to enhance human nutrition, food security and dietary diversity across Sub-Saharan Africa by promoting technologies that produce Delicious Inexpensive Nutritious Environmentally and culturally friendly, and Safe (DINES) soy products. We strive to bring evidence-based nutrition solutions to scale and are interested in partnerships with industry and agro-processors to bring nutritious soy products that meet our DINES criteria to the African market.
Early childhood nutrition requires special attention because the weaning period is central to a child’s development and growth. SIL and its partners in northern Ghana are moving towards commercial production of a new, locally sourced weaning food called ComFA (Complementary Food for Africa), that combines the high-quality protein of soybean with high-energy orange flesh sweet potato. Using locally available soybean and sweet potato eliminates the need to import lower quality and more expensive weaning foods. ComFA is more nutritious, easier to prepare, requires less energy and water than commercially available weaning foods, and is naturally sweet, making it an ideal complementary food for babies transitioning to table foods. Adequate nutrition is a key element to enhancing the lives of African families. Empowering households to adopt more diverse diets by utilizing accessible and nutritious staples, such as soy and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, will improve child development and growth.
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Soy dairy continues to build momentum in Africa. However, many cooperatives and entrepreneurs struggle to sustain their small businesses beyond the donor-funding period. SIL addressed this ongoing problem by developing a business recordkeeping and benchmarking program for soy dairy operations in Malawi. The soy dairy producers are trained in business, packaging, new product development, record keeping, credit, and finance.
SIL research demonstrated that the leading costs for soy dairy enterprises are packaging materials, sugar, flavoring and soybeans, and fixed costs associated with equipment depreciation, food safety compliance, marketing and promotion, and building rent. SIL continues to build the network of hundreds of soy dairy entrepreneurs across Sub-Saharan Africa through educational resources, videos and webinars.