TANZANIA –  The dairy board of Tanzania (TDB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries started a school milk-feeding program that currently needs TZS15 billion (US$6.4M) to implement.

According to the TDB registrar Dr George Msalya, the funds will be used to implement the program which intends to distribute milk to 500 schools across the country, starting with areas where milk and dairy processing factories are readily available.

It is anticipated to start this year and run for a period of 5 years, covering 100 schools every year, and targeting students of ages 4 through 19 years.

According to Dr Msalya, the distributed milk will be processed, either pasteurised, ultra-heat treated (UHT), or cultured yoghurt, depending on the infrastructure available in the specific area.

The TDB in partnership with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and other stakeholders in the sector are pooling their efforts to implement the Action Plan for the School Milk Program, 2023-2028.

“We have decided to team up and draft a specific action plan for the execution of the program to ensure its sustainability. Among others the plan involves seven specific objectives that have been well arranged and will be useful in the implementation of the plan,” Dr Msalya said.

The main objectives of the program incorporate a move to improve parents and other stakeholders’ participation to determine context-specific modalities for implementation and identify mechanisms for coordination and collaboration to sustainably implement said program.

Other specific objectives include providing a high-quality standard of milk supplied in these schools, improving collection and access and information sharing among the stakeholders.

According to the registrar, the program will play a role in helping parents support their children’s education while protecting their food security which will in turn play a role in breaking the intergenerational cycle of hunger and poverty among communities.

To ensure the continued sustainability of the program for the 5 years duration, Dr Msalya affirmed that the parent ministry and the board plan to construct 10 milk collection centres every financial year and establish 8 selling points to facilitate easy distribution to schools.

This program also serves as a nutrition campaign focused on increasing milk-drinking culture from grassroots levels across the country.

According to data from the CGIAR, the country’s per capita consumption of milk is 45 litres per person per year, dangerously far below the 200 litres per capita consumption recommended by the World Health Organization.

For the past fourteen years, the Government of Tanzania, through the TDB has been implementing the School Milk Feeding Programme (SMFP) intending to improve milk production and consumption in the country.

Among the stakeholders and development partners that decided to ramp -up efforts to help free distribution of the product to the pupils over the past years include FAO, European Union (EU), ASAS Dairy Farm, and the livestock ministry.

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