Kerry and WFP team up on Project Amata to bring milk to Burundi’s school-age children
19 Dec 2022 --- The World Food Programme (WFP) has partnered with Irish nutrition player Kerry in an effort the company states has already brought milk to over 3,000 children through a school meal program, which is part of Project Amata.
The project launched in 2020 with the aim of improving food security and nutrition through dairy in the Gitega province of Burundi.
The program further endeavors to reinforce the “milk value chain” to make sustainable and safe dairy products available in these areas.
Now at the midway point for the project – which is slated to continue until 2023 – has also trained over 200 farmers in dairy farming practices and purchased nearly 200 tons of milk for school meals.
“Project Amata has been an extremely worthwhile endeavor, and we are proud to help deliver the excellent progress to date that has occurred in spite of the challenges of the global pandemic on the project’s organizing efforts,” says Gerry Behan, global president and CEO of taste and nutrition at Kerry.
Teach a man to fish…
As part of the project, Kerry is sharing its dairy farming knowledge and expertise with farmers in Burundi – a country where chronic malnutrition affects over half of the population and reported 70% live below the poverty line – with the goal of improving both the quantity and quality of milk production in the country.
According to the company, this will also help to improve food security.
The company is accomplishing this by utilizing its dairy experts’ knowledge of artificial insemination, calf raising and animal nutrition and transferring it to local farmers.
The project is also working to improve milk processing in the country, strengthen milk supply chains and safeguard the quality of the milk distributed in communities and schools.
“Kerry is very proud of its heritage, having started as a small dairy company 50 years ago. Since then, we have been working with milk suppliers to maximize on-farm efficiencies and profitability and deliver dairy products sustainably,” says Pat Murphy, CEO of Kerry Dairy Ireland.
“We look forward to the long-term impact that the knowledge transfer will deliver for their communities as we continue the project.”
Helping those most in need
The company states that among those affected by poor diets and a lack of nutritious and healthy foods, children are the most heavily impacted, as malnutrition at an early age can lead to stunting and a plethora of health and developmental problems, which could undermine performance at school. Moreover, it can increase the chance of developing illnesses and infections.
The project allows for each child in the program’s available area to receive a portion of milk twice a week as part of a school meal, which Kerry says is often the children’s only source of animal protein.
“[This is a] country where access and consumption of animal protein is still very limited,” says Claude Kakule, deputy country director for WFP in Burundi.
“The milk value chain offers strong potential to improve the income and livelihoods of small-scale producers while alleviating malnutrition among the vulnerable.”
“By connecting local milk producers and collection centers with WFP’s school feeding program, this project is introducing fresh milk into schools and will help ensure the consumption of safe and nutritious food,” adds Kakule.
“WFP Burundi is grateful to Kerry Group for this innovative and strategic partnership and is looking forward to strengthening and expanding this collaboration on similar food systems projects in the coming years.”
Edited by William Bradford Nichols
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.
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