Ethiopia looks to school feeding to support agricultural development

Demeke Mekonnen, Minister for Education, Ethiopia, speaking at GCNFAddis Ababa 14th May: Government-led school feeding programmes which procure their food from local smallholder farmers can increase the income of Ethiopia’s farmers and improve the health and education of the nation’s children. This was one of the key messages of the H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Minister for Education at an international forum of school feeding experts.

Speaking at the Global Child Nutrition Forum in Addis Ababa H.E. Mekonnen stated that, "School feeding programmes need to be linked with smallholder agriculture creating multiple benefits of creating additional demand for farmer’s produce.“

“Efforts need to be made to set in place pro-active and sustainable of which is Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF).”

To this end the Government of Ethiopia together with development partners, the World Food Programme and the Partnership for Child Development (Imperial College London), have started pilot HGSF programmes in two districts of Southern Region in line with the country’s Growth and Transformation plan.

The Minister went on to outline the country’s efforts to improve the educational outcomes of children through improved health and nutrition by the creation of a School Health and Nutrition (SHN) taskforce. The Task force is a joint initiative of the Ministries of Education and Health.

His address marked the formal opening of the largest forum of leading international school feeding experts in the world. The 14th Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum which is co-sponsored by Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) and Partnership for Child Development (PCD) with technical support provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) runs from 15-18 May. The Forum brings together over 200 regional, national and international experts from 23 sub-Saharan African countries to share ideas and discuss strategies to implement sustainable school feeding programmes which can aid the economic, educational and agricultural development of sub-Saharan Africa. 

Read more about the Global Child Nutrition Forum 2012

Read the full agenda for GCNF 2012. 

Read the Forum Communiqué

Find Presentations from the forum for: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 4. (With Day 3 being the field trip).  

Read the various press articles on the pilot project and GCNF: 

Merkato, Ethiopia Launches School Feeding Program

The Reporter, Gov't Looks to School Feeding to Support Agricultural Dev't 

All Africa, Ethiopia: Farmers to Supplant Imported Food for School Lunches

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