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Belize Aims to End Hunger in Schools

The Belize Parliamentary Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (BPAHM) took another step towards ending hunger in Belize. The group headed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Valerie Woods. Today, the Parliamentary Champions, the Minister of Agriculture and the Special Envoy for Women and Children Her Excellency Rosanna Briceño toured the government’s Agro-processing Unit in the Cayo District. Chairperson, Valerio Woods spoke to the media about the purpose of today’s visit.

Valerie Woods, Chairperson, BPAHM: “This visit was made possible through the alliance and its funding through FAO because we did not appreciate for the lack of a batter term what it is that can be done in Belize to assist school feeding for example or to promote how you can end hunger and malnutrition. The cost of items factors into this as well so if there are ways that things can be produced cheaper, if there is a school out there that lets say doesn’t have the sweet pepper, the tomato, the string beans and so forth and they’re just doing that what a visit to the Agro Processing Unit does is allow you to see what else they can do as added value and that they can incorporate in their school in a cheaper way. The demonstration that we had today is one that I would strongly encourage and I will say this to the parliamentary champions, for in the new year for the wider group of champion to make a visit because remember parliamentarians for the most part are representing areas or constituencies, communities, people. In those constituencies and their groupings including in the Senate there are farmers there are schools, clearly there are persons who are in need of food and a cheaper way of accessing food so it would do good if the champions were to take a proper tour of the agro processing unit and what happens here at Central Farm. So if there are persons and groups and organizations in their respective areas who might just need some technical assistance on how to do or create an alternative means of living or how to improve on what they have embarked on then that arrangement can be made with the agro processing unit teaching them as you all witnesses today not only the process but the best practice for health and wellness.”

Special Envoy for Women and Children Rosanna Briceño, has been an educator for over thirty years and she says the main purpose of today’s visit was to improve the sustainability of the country’s school feeding program endeavors.

Rosanna Briceno, Special Envoy for Women and Children: “My goal is looking at the sustainability. I was super impressed with what I saw today and I think for the products that they’re providing here that they’re coming up with the different flours I think they’re wonderful. A lot of training will need to be put in place for the parents, for the cooks, the persons that are involved in actually the preparation of the food for our children in the schools and we all know that most schools that have a feeding program are the very poor schools. Children that come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. So for this project to work to make to sustainable it will need a lot of innovation, it will need a lot of political will, it will need partnerships between Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture to make it sustainable to get these products into the schools because you and I both know that the schools can’t afford it so that’s why I’m here today to see how best we can partner, my office,  can partner with the ministries that I mentioned to bring these products into the schools. With COVID parents have lost their jobs I am sure that parents they can’t wait to get their children back into schools because we know for a fact that at least one solid meal is provided. Right now we’re talking like a solid meal and a snack who could beat that you know ? So I’m very positive about this and I’m sure that if the government, my government, is serious about this they will make it happen.”