FAO helps Albania with school food and nutrition programme

Friday, 30 June, 2017

30 June 2017, Tirana, Albania – Development of a national school food and nutrition programme for Albania took another step forward today, as a technical workshop convened by FAO reviewed relevant laws and policies currently in place.

The FAO Representation in Albania, with technical support from the Organization`s regional office in Budapest, has been providing policy and technical assistance to Albania for a national school food and nutrition programme since May 2016. The FAO project addresses challenges in the sector linked to child health, nutrition and development by building on sustainable food-systems approaches. The current project is expected to conclude in December.

With a budget of US$ 200 000, the project contributes to developing sectorial and cross-sectorial policy frameworks and investment plans and programmes to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. In addition to strengthening national policy, the project also works to build the capacities and knowledge of government and other relevant players.

In collaboration with the Albanian Center for Economic Research, FAO has completed an important step in this process: review and analysis of Albania`s current legislative and policy framework for food security, nutrition and social protection in support of school nutrition. A summary of the existing legislation and policy frameworks relevant to school food and nutrition has been carried out, and proposals for amendments to the legislative framework have been developed. This work makes it possible to define institutional responsibilities and plan practical next steps.

Today`s workshop is designed to present and discuss the main findings of the analytical work, and ensure a common awareness and understanding among all actors. Participants include government representatives, development partners, private sector operators and academicians.

“The benefits of this project over the long term will be many,” said Assistant FAO Representative in Albania Arben Kipi, “including the improvement of nutritional status and health of the younger generation, promoting healthy dietary practices in schools, and potential support to small holders and local producers. In this way it promotes the economic development of rural areas.

“We are working to find schemes for collaboration with the private sector on a partnership basis to support the school food and nutrition programme,” Kipi continued. “This programme is very attractive as well for the Government of Albania, and FAO is closely working on this applying a multi-disciplinary, inter-sectorial approach.”

Next steps will include:

  • a survey of nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes and practices
  • a feasibility study on local suppliers of diverse, nutritious and safe food – particularly by small-sale and family farms
  • greater involvement of government with appropriate budget allocation
  • involvement of the local private sector and collaboration with other development agencies, academia and NGOs in testing several school food and nutrition options
  • an initial pilot school food and nutrition project launched during 2018.