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Re: Nutrition-enhancing agriculture and food systems

Luis Lobo FAO, Chile
26.07.2013
Luis

I would like to share with you a specific case of how the nutritional issue facilitates the positioning of the family farming in a context of achieving food security and nutrition.

The situation in Ecuador in the field of public procurement linked to family farming (FF) is very interesting, opening a window of opportunity to support the reengineering of the School Feeding Program (SFP) toward a more comprehensive and mostly linking school feeding with local procurement from the FF.

Context and characterization of this window of opportunity:

• The school feeding program (SFP) is managed by the Ministry of Education. This program is characterized by highly centralized and concentrated in big suppliers, most multinational companies, whose design and implementation criteria are mainly: cost efficiency, coverage and logistics issues. This has led to the exclusion of the small farmers.

• The  government of Ecuador has new evidences about the School Feeding Program, based on the latest nutrition survey conducted in the country by the Ministry of Health. This survey shows reduction of the values of undernourishment rates but new challenges are emerging as obesity in children school age, so that the problem of malnutrition is present and have a new face, which calls into question the quality of the current menus of the SFP, where de FF has a advantages comparatives

• The government has positioned the issue of FF in Ecuador with a constitutional framework that drives it; so the concept of sovereignty, that is recognize in de constitution of the country,  is linked to support small framers.

In this context and thanks, as you can see, of the nutrition issue, the situation is advancing to design and implementation of  the Food Supply Program (PSP) articulate with  the SFP, with the support of the Presidency of the Republic and under the tutelage of Ministry of Agriculture (MAGAP) and the support of  Ministry of  Education,  more decentralized and aimed at FF.

In most countries of LAC, sustainability and success of these policies depends mostly of achieving the consolidation and transformation of the political will in institutional frameworks that allow SFP – FF policies to survive political and economic cycles [e.g. A national Law in Brazil mandates that at least 30% of food supply for SFPs must be from FF] and develop process to enhance its efficiency and quality of coordination in territory.  The case of Ecuador shows that this can be done wherever there is social consensus about the problem and its solutions and these are supported by political leadership.