Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition

Children’s meals improve through new raspberry bushes in school gardens

23 October 2020 | Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – FAO is planting 10 000 raspberry seedlings at the Chui boarding school for orphans and children left without parental care.

This activity is under the continuing support of the FAO Russian-funded project “Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition in selected countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia” to develop school gardens for improved nutrition on school children in the Kyrgyz Republic.

“The availability of tasty, safe, and nutritious food, supported by a healthy food environment is fundamental to better diets in schools,” said Adnan Quereshi, FAO Representative in Kyrgyzstan. “Given today's realities, we must strengthen schoolchildren immune systems and raise healthy generations. Education on what comprises healthy diets and proper eating habits must start as soon as possible, from a young age.”

For planting, FAO chose a special raspberry variety called "Monomakh's cap". This raspberry fruit contains various useful elements, such as vitamin C and B, manganese, potassium, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron, which, in turn, helps strengthen the immune system and have a positive effect on the full physical and mental development of children.

“This is not only a way to make school meals more nutritious and diverse, but it is also a good tool for the children to learn personal qualities, such as care, responsibility, and acquire horticultural skills while taking part in the maintenance of the school garden,” said Aisalkyn, Deputy Director for educational work.

Raspberries will give their first harvest in about two years and provide fruits throughout the entire year in the form of fresh raspberries, as well as preserved products (dried, frozen, cooked into jam).

FAO's work to improve school nutrition has been ongoing since 2017 and bear benefit with knowledge and techniques for years by bringing them to schools.