Kerry and the World Food Programme partner to bring milk to Burundian children in school meals programme

Over 3,000 children in Burundi now have access to milk as part of their school meal through a programme run in partnership between Kerry and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Launched in 2020, Project Amata aims to improve food security and nutrition through strengthening the milk value chain and to make safe and sustainable dairy available to communities in the Gitega province, Burundi.

In Burundi, 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. 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.

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

Commenting on the impact of the programme to date Gerry Behan, global president and CEO, Taste and Nutrition, Kerry said: “Project Amata has been an extremely worthwhile endeavour and we are proud to help deliver the excellent progress to date that has occurred in spite of the challenges of the global pandemic on the project’s organising efforts. Kerry is pleased and proud to work with the World Food Programme to partner in another excellent project, and we look forward to seeing even more impact from Project Amata.”

Pat Murphy, CEO Kerry Dairy Ireland added: “Kerry is very proud of its heritage, having started as a small dairy company 50 years ago. Since then, we have been working with milk suppliers to maximise on-farm efficiencies and profitability and deliver dairy products sustainably. We are delighted to work with the World Food Programme to transfer this knowledge to farmers in Burundi and look forward to the long-term impact that the knowledge transfer will deliver for their communities as we continue the project.”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. 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.

Learn more about Project Amata here.

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