Oficina Regional de la FAO para América Latina y el Caribe

Promoting a Sustainable School Feeding Programme in Suriname

FAO and the Government of Mexico support the Government of Suriname with advancing its school feeding programme as part of the Resilient Caribbean Initiative.

Participants from the Resilient School Feeding Programme Workshop, Suriname Photo: ©FAO/Xaviera Arnhem

Paramaribo, Suriname, 18 October 2022- Ministerial stakeholders reaffirmed their commitment to the achievement of a sustainable school feeding programme in Suriname during a workshop conducted on 12 October with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Mexico.

To raise awareness and promote multi-sectoral collaboration on School Feeding Programs in Suriname, the Mexico-CARICOM-FAO Initiative “Cooperation for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean” or Resilient Caribbean Initiative in short, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries brought together 23 representatives from varying Ministries and civil society organizations. Participating Ministries included the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Regional Development.

The aim of the workshop was to reengage stakeholders who form part of the National school feeding Policy and Feasibility Team in an effort to increase understanding and awareness on the importance of school feeding, the role of each stakeholder and to decide on an approach to improve multi-sectoral collaboration.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Soedeshchand Jairam shared “the workshop was a step towards bringing key stakeholders together and generating ideas for achieving sustainable school feeding programs. The school nutrition program will contribute to the involvement of students in agricultural production and encourage them to see multiple opportunities within the agricultural sector with the advent of technology.”

Presentations were delivered by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Education respectively, who emphasised the importance of school feeding and the role of each Ministry in achieving a sustainable programme. Opportunities for knowledge exchange were also facilitated through virtual sessions with speakers from the Caribbean Agro-Economic Society (CAAES) of the University of the West Indies, Mexico’s National System for Integral Family Development (SNDIF) and Guyana’s Ministry of Education. During these session participants received information on the role and function of multi-sectoral committees and learnt from school feeding models implemented in Mexico and Guyana.

The workshop was supported by the Resilient School Feeding Programs sub-project of the Resilient Caribbean Initiative, funded by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE). The project is implemented by FAO in 14 CARICOM countries, with School Feeding being a focus for The Bahamas, Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname. The sub-project aims to strengthen the capacities of institutions and stakeholders to link the purchase of products from small farmers, while promoting a national framework for school feeding that facilitates access to healthy diets produced locally.

FAO National Project Coordinator for Suriname, Anne Getrouw indicates, “An added benefit of this workshop was that it also created space for discussion on the draft school feeding policy being developed by the government with the support of this project. This policy is an important first step, as it will lead to an action plan and operational programme that will ensure students have access to healthy and nutritious meals.”

Following this workshop, the Ministry of Agriculture will present the draft policy statement to the cabinet of the President of Suriname in order to establish a Presidential Committee on School Feeding.