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LATIN AMERICA / THE CARIBBEAN
School feeding combats infant malnutrition
8/29/2013
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Programs promote local development through the purchase of food from family farming.

School feeding programs implemented in eight countries of the region have become important for social protection, food security and children’s nutrition, ensures the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a recent report.

According to the report “A Panorama of School Feeding and the Possibilities for Direct Purchases from Family Farming – Case Studies in Eight Countries”, released on Aug. 22, school feeding programs combat chronic childhood malnutrition while “promoting the permanence of children in school and bolsters their learning process.”
 
These programs benefit 85 percent of students from the countries in the study — Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru.

Furthermore, the document maintains that these programs tend to obtain food from family agriculture, thus propelling local development. In Latin America and the Caribbean, about 80 percent of the agriculture is family farming, according to FAO data. The FAO has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Family Farming.

“This is a triple winner solution: it secures quality food for students of public schools, promoting the consumption of fresh and healthy food, it opens new markets and the possibility of higher income for family farmers while boosting local development,” said FAO Director General, José Graziano da Silva.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 49 million people — 8 percent of the total population of the region — suffers from hunger, mostly children younger than five years old and women. This situation “is not a result of insufficient production or lack of food supply, but it is fundamentally due to a lack of access to food of an important sector of the population that does not have enough income to acquire food,” FAO said.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, the poorest urban sectors allocate 70 percent  of their budgets to purchasing food.
—Latinamerica Press.

LATIN AMERICA/THE CARIBBEAN
Percentage of chronic malnutrition
in children under five years old (2012)

Country
Percent
Guatemala
49.8
Honduras
30.0
Bolivia
27.1
Nicaragua
21.7
Peru
19.5
El Salvador
19.1
Paraguay
18.0
Colombia
13.2

Source: FAO


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