School feeding. From May 14th to 16th, in the framework of the Brazil-FAO Cooperation and regional initiatives focused on school feeding, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held the Regional Meeting for the Consolidation of Programs of School Feeding. The event left a series of guidelines that will become an FAO action plan to promote joint purchasing mechanisms for small farmers with the aim of facilitating access to fresh food for the population and reducing consumption of ultra-processed products. It is expected that in the coming months this organization will resume the Brazilian experience in the development of the National School Feeding Program (PNAE) to strengthen its normative advocacy plan in favor of family farming.
The meeting, held in Panama, had as objective to share national progress, exchange good practices learned and identify, together, continuity strategies in food. In the coming months, FAO will seek to boost the mechanisms of public procurement for family farming to strengthen these programs in Latin America and the Caribbean, and to increase the group of countries with legal frameworks to support school feeding with fresh foods .
One of the initiatives of the program was the Sustainable Schools Program, which aims to put an end to all forms of child malnutrition while seeking to empower the rural sector. In this sense, during the meeting, representatives of Honduras shared that the passing of the school feeding bill in the country prioritized local producers to provide food in schools. For his part, the Deputy Minister of Education of Panama, Carlos Staff, highlighted the national efforts to address the consumption of unhealthy foods in schools.
From the FAO, together with the thirteen countries in the region that have implemented some experience of the Sustainable School Feeding Program, hope that, from the implementation of these programs, more countries will be able to discuss and pass specific laws on school feeding, as it has been the case of Guatemala, Bolivia, Honduras and Paraguay. At the same time, they seek to consolidate the advances presented in terms of school feeding through the establishment of direct purchases of local family farming and the improvement of the productive capacity of them.