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Information on Local Foods

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Boosting nutrition through locally sourced foods 

As each country seeks to engage or expand its school feeding programmes, defining the objectives for the procurement of food in the programme is essential.  School-aged children in low and middle income countries often suffer from nutrient insufficiency, so appropriately designed and implemented HGSF programmes can be effective in closing these gaps and improving nutritional status.

If improving the nutrition status of children is a key objective, reviewing current food rations and looking at options to improve school rations for nutritional content should be part of the objective planning process. Under HGSF, which promotes the use of agricultural products from smallholder farmers as the source for school feeding rations, there is an opportunity to meet the nutrition goals for children participating in school feeding programmes with the foods that are produced and provided by farmers.

Building the evidence-base around nutrition

An initial step in providing support to HGSF programmes requires building the evidence base for improved nutrition to countries participating in the initiative. This includes demonstrating the benefits of good nutrition on learning, the food composition of current rations, and how those rations might be improved using crops that can be produced locally. 

The work includes the following activities, to:

  • Examine Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for school children from several western countries (US, Canada, UK) and African countries where they exist (e.g. South Africa).
  • Prepare information on the benefit of certain nutrients for learning, based on existing studies.
  • Develop the food composition of current food rations in the countries where HGSF is working and how the current rations meet the nutritional requirements of school children of different ages.
  • Provide examples for improving nutritional quality by adding nutrient dense foods to current rations (i.e., how would including certain foods better meet the nutritional requirements of school children).

Key Resources

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