BURUNDI –  A partnership between Kerry, a world leader in taste and nutrition, and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has seen children in Burundi have access to milk as part of their school meal.

Dubbed Project Amata, the Kerry-WFP program aims to improve food security and nutrition by strengthening the milk value chain and making safe and sustainable dairy available to communities in the Gitega province, Burundi.

Now at the midway point, the project has already provided over 3,000 children with regular dairy products as part of their school lunches and purchased almost 200 tons of milk for schools.

The program, although limited in scale, has a significant impact in Burundi where 70% of people live below the poverty line and chronic malnutrition affects over half the population.

Children are often the most affected, as the lack of regular nutritious food and poor dietary diversity makes them vulnerable to infections and seriously undermines their performance at school.

Through the project, each child in the supported schools receives a portion of milk twice a week as part of their school meal.

This is often the only source of animal protein these children receive, which is vital for their overall growth and development.

Supporting Burundi dairy farmers

As part of this project, Kerry is also sharing expertise on dairy farming and processing with Burundian farmers, supporting them to improve their milk quality and quantity, and thus improve food security.

 The company has leveraged its dairy experts to transfer knowledge across a number of areas, including animal nutrition, artificial insemination and calf rearing.

The project is also delivering improvements at a milk processing level to strengthen supply chains and safeguard the quality of the milk delivered to schools and communities.

Regis Manyange, Regional Sales Director, Nairobi, East Africa Taste & Nutrition, Kerry added: “The first half of Project Amata has been an impressive success. The program has delivered important knowledge and help to our local dairy farmers as they seek to improve productivity and expand milk production while simultaneously providing schoolchildren with an important daily source of protein.”

The programme continues until 2023 and will now focus on further training, the establishment of a farmer leader group and educational programmes on the nutritional value of milk and dairy.

Said Claude Kakule Mukanda, Deputy Country Director of WFP Burundi: “Thanks to financial and technical assistance from Kerry, WFP is revitalizing the milk value chain in Burundi by supporting small scale producers and processors with capacity-strengthening activities to increase their skills, efficiency, and to gain access to valuable market opportunities.

By linking local milk production and collection centres to the home-grown school feeding programme, this project will introduce fresh milk into schools and ensure the consumption of safe and nutritious food by school children and the communities.”

Project Amata builds on the success of the previous WFP and Kerry partnership, Project Leche, which helped Honduran farmers create a safer and more sustainable milk supply.

“We are excited and looking forward to the next stages of this worthwhile project that will deliver long-term economic and health benefits to the community,” Manyange added.

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