Small scale farmers feeding schools
In many countries, school feeding programmes have been initiated over the past years. Providing school children with regular meals has proven to reduce hunger and malnutrition, but is also an effective strategy for improving children’s enrollment, attendance, retention and school performance.
But not only school children can benefit. Initiatives known as the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programmes invite local farmers to produce food items that will be procured for preparing daily school meals. HGFS programmes intend to create local business cycles that connect school feeding and education to small scale food production and food processing.
The AgriCultures Network wonders about the role of small-scale farmers in school feeding programmes.
Are school feeding programmes really creating opportunities for small-scale farmers?
Because food necessities can be procured locally, a new market may be created for farmers. But is it a worthwhile investment in terms of scale and possible economic benefits? Are small farmers really included? In programmes all over the world, what are barriers for the inclusion of small-scale farmers in an effective way?
Share your experiences on this topic! Tell us if you agree or disagree with the following statements:
- Small-scale farmers can only provide a limited contribution to school feeding programmes, because of their lack of organization, poor access to land and other resources, and limited capability to generate a continuous offer of products.
- Government-supported programmes often lead to the exclusion of small-scale farmers, because the few people in charge choose cheaper imported products over local products.
- Because buyers cannot offer small-scale farmers enough security, farmers are not willing to adapt their farms in order to offer the products requested by HGSF programmes – they will eventually be excluded.
Read some opinions from others:
“Farmers’ benefits from HGSF programmes” - Carmen Burbano de Lara, Policy Officer at the WFP explains how small-scale farmers might benefit from home grown school feeding from a policy and research perspective.
"Farmer involvement is problematic” - King-David Amoah from ECASARD, Ghana, provides several reasons why the agricultural component of these school feeding programmes are not functioning well.
“A real experience with community-led home grown school feeding” - Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels and Peter Gubbels explain the approach of the Ghanaian NGO PAMBE, who have set up a school feeding programme which has a strong community involvement in the provision of food.
This debate has been initiated by the SIGN foundation, in relation to their conference on the Ghana School Feeding Programme on the 27th of October. The conference aims at sharing successes, challenges and lessons learned in program implementation and (external) support, using the Ghana School Feeding Program as an example. To read more, go to the interview with SIGN initiator Hans Eenhoorn or the SIGN conference blog.