The School Feeding Programme opening doors for Female Farmers in Region 1.

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In Hosororo Region 1, Barima- Waini, Guyana, the Blue Flame Women’s Group have been producing cassava, cocoa, coffee and cassareep, herbs, tomatoes and vegetables. Cocoa and other raw materials are also procuded by farmers in the community, which is then purchased, processed at the group’s factory and then used to make various products. These products are then packaged and sold throughout the country and is specifically used to cater for the Breakfast School Feeding Programme for four (4) schools in the Mabaruma.
The Blue Flame Women’s Group is a women-led, community based agro-processing operation.
Christina James, Chairperson of the Group shared that “The school feeding programme has benefitted me as well as my grandchildren, members of the community and especially all the women in the group who are also farmers.”
In Guyana, the school meal programme in Guyana provides healthy and nutritious meals for students for free. It dates as far back as forty (40) years and is said to benefit some 48.6% of the Nursery, Primary and Secondary student population in the country. The National School Feeding Programme is divided into four (4) sub programmes. These are; the Peanut butter and Cassava Bread Snack Programme, the Community-Based Hot Meal Programme, the Juice and Biscuit Snack Programme, and more recently, added the Breakfast Programme.
Over the past year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has teamed up with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to create a global project titled “Enhancing production and access to nutrition-dense food through social protection programmes”.
In a press release it was explained that “through this project, FAO –Guyana, together with our partners have been working to deliver on the following products:

  • A Rapid Assessment on the state of the national School Feeding Programmes in Guyana
  • A Policy Framework for the development of School Feeding Policy of Guyana
  • Pilot Design for a Home Grown School Feeding Programme
  • An assessment on the status of agricultural production of smallholders farms in Regions 5 and 9
  • Development of Farmer Field School Curricula
  • Coherence Study and Policy paper on Agriculture and Social Protection programmes in Guyana”
    And according to them, “the results from these initiatives are promising and show great potential for increased access to healthy and nutritious food produced locally to the most vulnerable in the country as well as creating sustainable market outlets for small holder farmers and groups such as the Blue Flame Women’s Group.”
    Touching on plans for the future, it was said that “Interest in the school feeding programme has grown tremendously and with the development of a National School Feeding Policy Framework, we will be able to advance to a multi-sectoral involvement of various actors, including governments, international organizations, private sector, and civil society as well as the integration of smallholder farmers and groups into the school feeding programme supply network.”

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