Gov't to provide healthier meals for students

Gov't to provide healthier meals for students

Saturday, December 07, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Students will be provided with healthier meal options under the National School Feeding Programme come September next year.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that more local ground provisions and fruits will be made available to schools as opposed to cheaper alternatives, which are often high in sugar content.

“Come September of next year, it is our plan, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the Ministry of Health and Wellness and with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to make significant strides in the National School Feeding Programme,” he said.

“With this, we will create better nutrition for our children, while creating wealth among our small farmers,” he added.

He was addressing the quarterly media briefing at the ministry's Hope Gardens offices in St Andrew on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio, JC Hutchinson, said that the pilot breakfast programme implemented in North West St Elizabeth, where he serves as Member of Parliament, will be enhanced in 2020.

“From the farm at Holland, we are going to be supplying all of the primary schools in the constituency with raw materials – yam, Irish potato, cucumber [etc] and we are starting that in January of the coming year (2020),” he noted.

“We're looking at having pineapple juice, melon juice, etc and then we are going to be moving it into the breakfast programme. We are going to ramp it up more, whereby, we are going to have juices going into the schools, so that we can cut out the bag juice,” he added.

The Government implemented a policy restricting the intake of sugary drinks in public schools in January 2019.

Under the policy, beverages containing more than six grams of sugar per 100 millilitres are banned in and around school compounds. Further reductions in sugary content are scheduled to be implemented over the next few years.

The move is part of measures to reduce excessive consumption of added sugar, which is seen as a major contributor to obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).


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