Program of Brazil-FAO International Cooperation

Regional Agenda for Sustainable School Feeding in Latin America and the Caribbean


Brazil-FAO Cooperation in school feeding - strengthening programmes and policies in our region since 2009

School feeding is a cross-cutting policy to address poverty and other social issues, as it promotes the human development of students and their communities, improves dietary habits, ensures access to healthy and adequate food, and promotes the development of the local economy through the purchase of locally produced food by family farming. Undoubtedly, it is a policy that impacts various aspects such as education, health, nutrition, agri-food systems, the environment, and the construction of peace for all peoples. 

The school feeding policy is one of the actions promoted within the Brazil-FAO International Cooperation Programme and is based on the experience of the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE) in Brazil, executed by FNDE in collaboration with Brazilian states and municipalities. For over 67 years, the programme has been implemented to ensure the provision of healthy and adequate food for over 150,000 schools in 5,570 municipalities, 26 states, and executed by the Federal District, with universal coverage for students of all teaching modalities. 

PNAE is regulated by Law 11.947/2009, which guarantees food and nutritional security to about 40 million students in the public education system. Additionally, this legal framework establishes a commitment to improving food and nutritional education, respecting local culture, and using local, fresh, and nutritious products. The legal provision stipulates that at least 30% of the funds provided for food purchases by FNDE are acquired from family farming. 

Therefore, through this cooperation, since 2009, dialogues and experience exchanges on the topic have been promoted among FAO, national governments, other sectors of society, and other international organizations. Technical cooperation began with the project Strengthening of School Feeding Programs in LAC, which until 2018 reached 17 countries and became an important scenario for South-South cooperation for the regional strengthening of school feeding programmes in the region. During this period, a new perspective on school feeding was achieved, focusing on the human right to adequate and healthy food. 

From 2018, the new project titled Consolidation of School Feeding Programmes in LAC began, ensuring the continuity of dialogues with and among countries, developing the capacities of professionals, providing technical support in the design of normative frameworks, and achieving a significant milestone in the formation and implementation of the Sustainable School Feeding Network (RAES). This project concluded in November 2023. 

Building on the lessons learned and knowledge accumulated during 14 years of cooperation in school feeding, a new cycle of actions in LAC began  in January 2024.

The project

The project Regional Agenda for Sustainable School Feeding in Latin America and the Caribbean, through RAES and in conjunction with the countries that comprise it, will seek to build a regional school feeding agenda that highlights relevant themes, concepts, strategies, methodologies, and initiatives in tune with the reality of LAC region, as well as the specific demands of each participating country. This agenda will enable countries to engage in dialogue and share solutions and innovations for school feeding programmes. 

For the establishment of this regional school feeding agenda, the Brazil-FAO Cooperation will have the participation of the 26 countries that have been involved in RAES events and activities over the years: Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Additionally, it will have the support and involvement of new countries, with regional and global organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the School Meals Coalition. 

It is understood that during the process of building and strengthening their programmes, countries may decide to develop national school feeding policies. These policies have the potential to directly or indirectly influence the achievement of at least seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely: 


  • SDG 1: End poverty - favoring local territorial development and ensuring employment and income for various rural families.
  • SDG 2: Zero hunger - promoting students' access to healthy and local food, ensuring the human right to adequate food.
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being - providing nutritious, healthy, and fresh food to thousands of students, contributing to combating high indicators of malnutrition in all its forms.
  • SDG 4: Quality education - access to healthy food impacts the dietary and nutritional culture of students and their families, favoring better health conditions, retention, and learning in school.
  • SDG 5: Gender equality - according to studies, the provision of food attracts girls to school, and their presence in this space contributes to reducing child marriage and teenage pregnancy in several countries, in addition to improving their nutrition. 
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth - School feeding programmes encourage job creation and entrepreneurial skills, strengthening small farmers who supply food from the fields to schools. This fosters financial autonomy and promotes the local economy. 
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production - Promotes agroecological production, the appreciation of biodiversity, the consumption of pesticide-free foods, and the reduction of food losses and waste. 

Furthermore, the project is directly linked to the FAO's strategic framework: Better Nutrition, which aims to end hunger, achieve food security, promote nutritious foods and increase access to healthy diets. 

A School Feeding Network in Latin America and the Caribbean

The initiative to create RAES was a response from the government of Brazil to the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025), proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2016. The Decade records the commitment of world leaders to establish national policies aimed at eradicating hunger and malnutrition, seeking the transformation of food systems in favor of nutritious diets and access to healthy food for all. 

Since 2018, RAES has been working to promote dialogue, develop capacities, and exchange experiences and information, aiming to consolidate school feeding programmes in the region and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. In this new cycle, the project through aims to undertake the following actions:  

  • Build a regional school feeding agenda;
  • Support the design of normative frameworks to strengthen school feeding;
  • Strengthen and institutionalize the RAES Network through the formal adherence of countries;
  • Promote the paradigm shift from a welfare-oriented vision to a human right to food vision;
  • Encourage the universalization of school feeding coverage;
  • Contribute to knowledge generation, exchange of experiences between countries, and capacity development;
  • Estimulate participatory governance; and
  • Support the implementation of Sustainable Schools.

Sustainable schools

Over the past years, through school feeding projects developed by Brazil-FAO Cooperation, the Sustainable Schools methodology has been implemented in 13 countries, directly benefiting over 1,650,000 students located in 536 municipalities across 63 departments, reaching 23,385 schools.

The methodology is jointly defined with the countries and aims to promote municipalities and schools as references for the implementation of sustainable school feeding programmes, with universal coverage (for all students), based on the concrete and practical experience of building knowledge and learning about school feeding policies and food and nutrition education to promote healthy eating habits. 

It is an activity to be developed by different government sectors, ultimately scaling up to the national level. The initiative aims to generate learning and best practices in school feeding policies, encompassing at least six components: 

(i) Interinstitutional coordination; (ii) community participation; (iii) adoption of appropriate and healthy menus; (iv) food and nutritional education; (v) improvement of infrastructure; (vi) purchases from family farming to generate income and promote the development of local economies.