Tetra Pak has partnered with Parmalat Zambia, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), the Zambian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, and the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (Sida), to bring milk to 15,000 school children in 39 schools in Zambia’s Eastern Province.
The partnership brings 250ml packs of milk to children between 7 and 16 two to three times per week during one school year in a bid to stem malnourishment and poor school attendance.
“Milk is recognised as being one of the most nutritious liquid foods available. It contains 14 of 18 of the nutrients humans need including vitamins, minerals proteins, fats, sugars, and carbohydrates,” says Stuart Bruder, key account director, Tetra Pak Southern Africa
The project was officially launched on June 16, 2011 in Nyimba District and milk distribution started the same week. The project aims to develop and test a feasible programme for bringing milk to schools across Zambia and ultimately to all children in school.
“The project has had a very successful start. Schools and authorities are implementing the programme extremely well and are, with very few exceptions, following all of our recommendations in regards to programme execution protocols. School headmasters are very happy and told us attendance is 100% on milk days” says Markus Huet, school feeding programme implementation specialist with Tetra Laval Food for Development Office (FfDO), after having visited 14 schools and assessed programme implementation during the first month of the programme.
WFP until recently supported 300 000 school children in Zambia with food but is gradually handing responsibility for school feeding over to the Ministry of Education and imported food is being replaced with locally produced maize and beans. WFP is implementing the milk programme as an integrated part of the recently launched and government led Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme, which is included in the Sixth National Development Plan as part of the government's social protection strategy. The HGSF aims to reach almost one million students in 2011.
“There are plans to extend the milk programme to more schools, including private schools, and the programme represents a significant opportunity to the local industry and small holder farmers,” says Bruder.
At current gate prices, the programme puts $0,41 per litre into the hands of the small holders, which represents a significant increase in local incomes. To put that in real terms, a typical small holder family with just two milking cows has access to a formal milk income of between $4,10 to $6,00 per day depending on milk output sold. It’s a vital source of revenue that cannot be easily replicated in the rural areas of Zambia.
The total programme costs over $1 million, of which Tetra Pak and its partners contributes half and Sida the other half. Much of the cost covers technical assistance for developing implementation and monitoring routines and development of a sustainable model to be rolled out across the country. The active involvement of the private sector is crucial for the programme to be sustainable.
The dairy industry has the potential to have a greater impact on economic development than most other industries for three reasons:
It is highly labour intensive;
It requires a minimum of imported inputs; and
It generates employment in rural areas.
“Few other commodities can provide the catalyst for growth and sustainable development in rural areas as milk is able to,” says Bruder. “Emerging commercial dairy farmers supplying milk into the formal Zambian milk sector now have access to a reliable market for their output. Private milk processors have been working to develop the small scale dairy farming sector over the past five years and their contribution to overall volumes processed has almost doubled in the last three years from less than 10% per annum to almost 20% in 2010.”
Tetra Pak packages of milk and other nutritious drinks reach almost 50 million children in over 50 countries through school feeding programmes. Based on the group’s more than 50 years of experience in school feeding programmes, the Tetra Laval Food for Development Office assists Tetra Pak market companies, customers, governments and local partners in developing and implementing school feeding programmes all over the world. In Zambia, Tetra Pak and its partners expect that the Zambian Milk for Schools programme will improve health, increase school enrolments, improve school attendance particularly for girls, and decrease dropout rates compared with similar schools not participating in the school milk programme. It will also contribute an important market for small holder milk and help develop the whole dairy industry in Zambia.
ABOUT TETRA PAK
Tetra Pak is the world's leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working closely with our customers and suppliers, we provide safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world. With almost 22,000 employees based in over 85 countries, we believe in responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business. Our motto, “PROTECTS WHAT’S GOOD™," reflects our vision to make food safe and available, everywhere.
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