FAO and Brazil discuss expanded support for school feeding program
19 August 2014, Brasilia- FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Henrique Paim, Brazil's Minister of Education, discussed ways to expand support for Brazil's international school feeding programs in Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa.
Currently 13 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean receive technical advice from Brazil related to school feeding programs. Some 5,200 technicians in the region have received training and over 13,000 students have participated in a survey about their nutritional status, while school renovations have taken place in eight Latin American countries under the auspices of Brazil's related "Sustainable Schools ("Escuelas Sostenibles/Escolas Sustentáveis") initiative.
"For FAO, Brazil's ongoing support for school feeding programs is critical, as it ensures the continuity of results already obtained through this regional initiative. Guaranteeing that children and adolescents of school age have access to food promotes food security and advances the fight against hunger and poverty," said Graziano da Silva.
One major aspect of Brazil's program is its direct purchase of food from family farmers. This is already taking place in 16 municipalities in seven countries In Latin America and the Caribbean, with 120 schools benefitting. As a result, an estimated 16, 000 students are being fed nutritious, healthy products coming directly from small farmers.
The Brazilian effort has also supported the creation of laws and regulations to ensure school feeding for children in the Latin American region. One example was the enactment of the School Food Law (Ley de Alimentacion Escolar) and Law of Public Contracts (Ley de Contractos Publicos) in Paraguay, which has made it easier to purchase products from family farms for use in for schools and hospitals.
Similar laws have also adopted by the legislatures of Bolivia, El Salvador and Guatemala.
About the Program
The School Feeding Program is a technical cooperation developed by FAO, the National Fund for Education Development (FNDE) and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC). Its activities in Latin America and the Caribbean initiated in 2009. The program is based on a policy developed in Brazil over more than five decades and is grounded in the principals of South-South cooperation. During the next year, an additional three countries in the region are expected to join the initiative.
Following the success of the effort to promote school feeding programs in Latin America and the Caribbiean, this FAO-Brazil South-South Cooperation effort was expanded last year to Africa. Action has already begun in Ethiopia, Malawi and Sao Tome and Principe.