Supporting local dairy development and nourishing schoolchildren
School milk and local dairy development—Myanmar makes great strides
The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP) is coordinating the implementation of two linked regional projects in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand – one on improving productivity and market access of smallholder dairy producers, and another on linking school milk with dairy development. The link between the two projects is to test the hypothesis that ‘local milk for local schools’ can serve as an important incentive for stakeholders to develop smallholder dairy as well as reduce malnutrition among children.
The project successfully stimulated launch of a pilot School Milk Programme in Myanmar in 2012. About 5000 students from Yangon and Mandalay Region started receiving 200 ml of pasteurized/sterilized local milk once/twice a day since 2012-2013 academic year. In Nay Pyi Taw about 14,000 school children received 180 ml of milk sponsored by Tetra Pak five days a week for five weeks in last academic year. With financial contributions from local dairy processors, Myanmar Dairy Association has set up a Foundation trust fund in support of school milk activities and International private sector processors such as Friesland Campina have pledged support for the program. Recently, Mandalay regional government announced a soft loan provision of 100 million Myanmar Kyats for the local private processors who participate in school milk program.
In September 2012, Myanmar celebrated its first World School Milk day in Nay Pi Taw, Yangon, and Mandalay with full gusto and with very high level participation by government and non-government partners and FAO representation. FAO Project financed to conduct World School Milk Day celebration in Myanmar. About 30000 children received milk donated by local processors.
Overall the program has been considered great success by all stakeholders and early indications are that the program is making positive impact on children’s health and school attendance. Over the next few months, the project aims to consolidate lessons from the pilot, continue to invest in awareness activities and training for school teachers and parents, and develop a business plan and good practice document for further scaling up of the school milk program.