The International Dairy Federation is thankfull for the oppourtunity to participate to this e-consultation. Please find our contribution below.
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The International Dairy Federation represents the global dairy sector covering over 75% of global milk production and engages all stakeholders of the dairy chain in primary production, milk processing and related research and innovation. Collectively, this is an enormous amount of knowledge, resources and networks.
Date/Timeframe and location
Continuous and worldwide
Main responsible entity
Livestock is vital for ensuring food and nutrition security and to achieving the sustainable developments goals.
Good nutrition is important for people of all ages. During childhood, good nutrition promotes normal growth and development. In the longer term, it is believed that establishing healthy eating habits in childhood can help to reduce the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Promoting a healthy diet to children can help them form healthy habits that extend into later life. Micronutrient deficiencies arising from poor-quality diets remain widely prevalent. Milk is rich in bio-available nutrients and an efficient vehicle for delivering several critical micronutrients and improving growth of young children.
As school feeding programs provide valuable settings to promote access to healthy, diversified diets. IDF with its large member basis provided the ideal platform to conduct together with the FAO the largest global review to date of school milk programme implementation, administration, promotion and nutritional importance.
The survey held in 2014 gives an in-depth look at 60 different school milk programmes in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Europe. 140 million children were reached with these programs, with around 57% of those receiving it at least 5 days per week. In 58% of the programmes, children were provided with free milk. In 27% it was provided to them subsidised. Comparison with a survey carried out in 1998 by FAO shows that milk and dairy foods are still as popular as ever and are widely recognised as essential to healthy eating. The survey provides much more detailed information on these school milk schemes and provides guidance for those who are implementing or considering implementing such programmes (http://store.fil-idf.org/product/the-contribution-of-school-milk-programmes-to-the-nutrition-of-children-worldwide/) .
Beyond ensuring access to milk and dairy foods in schools, many of our members deliver nutrition education programs to foster healthy food and physical activity habits. Through the dairy nutrition initiative IDF collects exemplary practices of effective education programs from around the world. The initiative has collected examples from around several countries, reaching different age groups, engaging multiple partnerships but with the same goal to connect children with the source of their foods and educate them about healthy lifestyles.
Key characteristics of the food system(s) considered
(Re)-connect the youth with the source of their foods and educate them about healthy lifestyles
Key characteristics of the investment made
School feeding programmes can have a positive influence on food choices and can be funded and supported in a number of different ways.
Key actors and stakeholders involved (including through south-south/triangular exchanges, if any)
Considering all data compiled many programmes were organized through a collaboration of different organizations. Some key actors were dairies, government, communities and schools. But also parents and teachers can be the initiators of the programs.
Key changes (intended and unintended) as a result of the investment/s
The impact of school milk programmes, in terms of number of children reached, varied significantly from country to country. Of all the countries responding, a total of 139 977 649 children were benefiting from school milk, an average of 54%. But variation are huge amongst different countries, the US for example is able to reach 80%, however there are countries were only 20% or less of the children were receiving school milk.
The biggest challenge identified in the survey was the funding of the programmes.
Other challenges included an expectation that school milk programmes should be free or highly subsidized; the administrative and resourcing burden for school staff; and competition from other foods.
These programs are at the nexus of agriculture, nutrition and education. Aligning resources and funding through public-private partnerships will not only improve reach and impact, it will also ensure the target audience receives a consistent message at critical touch points.