FAO in Ethiopia

Stakeholders review Ethiopia's Home-Grown School Feeding programme

Stakeholders reviewed Ethiopia's Home-Grown School Feeding programme. ©FAO

Call for strengthening linkages between school feeding programmes and local agricultural production 

Addis Ababa – While reviewing Ethiopia's Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme, stakeholders attending a workshop convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) underscored the importance of streamlining the linkages between school feeding programmes and local agricultural production. They also emphasized the need for a flexible federal public food procurement modality to facilitate food purchases from smallholder farmers. The HGSF is a school feeding model that provides children in schools with safe, diverse, and nutritious food sourced locally from smallholders. 

Twenty-five participants representing federal and regional governments, including the Ministries of education, agriculture, health, finance, and women and social affairs, attended the multi-stakeholder workshop from 23 – 24 March 2022 in Addis Ababa. Other participants represented Ethiopia's Public Procurement and Property Administration Agency, the Addis Ababa School Feeding Agency, the Federal Cooperatives Agency, Regional Education Offices, Ethiopian School meal Initiative, and Haramya University. Others were from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); the World Food Programme (WFP), and FAO. 

The consultative workshop aimed to create awareness and share experiences in implementing HGSF programmes. It also sought to promote Ethiopia's new School Feeding Policy and Strategy and generate relevant implementation approaches and recommendations to develop regional food procurement guidelines for the HGSF programme.

While opening the workshop, Ato Delil Kedir, Director of the School Feeding Directorate, Ministry of Education, indicated that the Government of Ethiopia had set up an institutional framework to implement HGSF programmes. "The outputs and outcomes of the workshop will strengthen the implementation and scaling up of ongoing HGSF initiatives," he added.

The workshop participants discussed HGSF practices and experiences, public procurement rules and regulations, and agro-ecological-based production of nutritious food. They also discussed Ethiopia's School Feeding Policy and Strategy and possible implementation approaches, and the role of agricultural cooperatives in HGSF programmes. They highlighted that beyond the students in schools and farmers, HGSF programmes generate various social and economic benefits for a range of actors along the value chain, including traders, processors, and suppliers of nutritious food. The participants also emphasized that the HGSF programme could support the implementation of the Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Strategy's objectives of increasing the production, availability, and consumption of diversified, safe, and nutritious foods. They underlined the importance of promoting farmers' cooperatives and associations, which may enhance their ability to connect with school feeding programmes and other markets.

A key outcome of the workshop was a set of recommendations for implementing Ethiopia's School Feeding Policy and Strategy and developing regional food procurement guidelines to implement the HGSF Programme successfully.

The inclusion of smallholder producers is critical in building and sustaining HGSF programmes

The workshop highlighted the importance of building the capacities of smallholder farmers to produce locally available, sufficient, good quality, and nutritious food to sustain the HGSF programmes.  

"Regular and predictable demand for smallholder farmers' products from schools can encourage farmers to increase and diversify their agricultural production," said Workicho Jateno, Assistant FAO Representative (Programme).

The workshop was organized as part of the FAO project – "Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture and Social Protection". It is part of the Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism sub-program  - "Enhancing production of and access to nutrition-dense food through social protection programmes". 




Rachel Nandelenga

Communications Consultant

FAO Ethiopia

[email protected]