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Ghana delegation spends two weeks in Brazil for exchange on linking school feeding programmes to local purchase initiatives

The mission, which took place between August 20th and 30th, consisted of the coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Seidu Paakuna Adamu, representatives from the ministries of education and local government, Charles Aheto Tsegah and Irene Odokai Messiba respectively, and the CEO of the national food stock and supply company Eric Osei Wusu. The visit, which also included WFP representatives from the office in Ghana and the regional director for West Africa, began with a field trip to Natal, northeast Brazil, followed by an official agenda with government authorities in Brasilia.

Brasilia- Throughout the visit the Centre aimed to provide the delegation with a stimulating environment for sharing ideas and reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of exporting aspects of the Brazilian experience to an African context. Ghana is itself in the formative stages of establishing a universal home-grown school feeding programme as part of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), launched in 2005, has today scaled up to cater for 1.5 million children in all the 170 districts. Having much public support, the programme receives stable backing from the government and, with the exception of some schools still receiving WFP support, the programme is nationally owned.

Linking School Feeding with Local Agricultural Production

Their aim is to spend 80 per cent of the feeding cost in the local communities and strengthen the links with agricultural production so as to increase domestic food production, household incomes and food security in deprived communities. Thus the Brazilian example of the integration of government-supported purchasing from smallholder farmers (PAA) with social protection such as the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE) is an instructive model.

The first week took the delegation to Natal where the group met with members of local government and civil society actors involved in operating and monitoring the school feeding programme in the local area. Field visits allowed the delegation to receive firsthand experience of schools, farmers’ cooperatives and smallholder farmer properties.

The second week in Brasilia sought to build on the experience of Natal through a number of in-depth presentations on the food security and social protection of Brazil and discussions with representatives from ministries and organisations involved in coordinating and supervising the school feeding and local purchase programmes. They also participated in an International Seminar on Social Policies forDevelopment organised by the Ministry for Social Development and Fight against Hunger (MDS).

Delegation visit school in northeast BrazilOutcomes

The response of the delegation to the visit was generally positive, expressing much appreciation of the government of Brazil´s efforts to tackle food insecurity and hoping for the continued strengthening of the tripartite relationship between Ghana, Brazil and WFP. There was agreement that it would not be possible to do a wholesale reproduction of the Brazilian model in Ghana but the action plan presented in the concluding session outlined aspiration to adapt best practices such as Brazil´s rights-based approach to access to food. A legal framework that mainstreams Ghana´s school feeding programme into the education system would, according to Irene Odokai Messiba of the Ministry of Local Government, “highlight to people that school feeding is an investment in human capital and not just another expenditure”. However, there was some criticism voiced that the account of Brazil´s public procurement system and its linkages with PNAE did not address the challenges involved in its development and current operation.

Irene Odokai Messiba, of the Ministry of Local Government, says: “What I found especially fruitful was getting an insight into the institutions of social accountability. The non-state civil society involvement in the monitoring of the school feeding gives an additional sense of public ownership of these programmes [...] It was an eye-opener for all of us”.

Seidu Paakuna Adamu, coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, says: “The field visit to Natal was revealing, the week in Brasilia was informing. We have really appreciated the serious approach that Brazil has taken to fighting hunger and malnutrition. Ghana is buying into this strategy”.

Purchase for Progress (P4P) in Ghana

Purchase for Progress in Ghana, operating in collaboration with initiatives of the Ghanian government and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), aims to boost smallholder productivity and enhance the marketing infrastructure and their commercial opportunities. Farmers involved in P4P, currently over 1,300, are provided with technical assistance, from production to marketing, and are connected with the Warehouse Receipt System currently established by the Ghana Grains Council. WFP aims to buy 2,800 metric tons from smallholders over the next two years, with the food being distributed to vulnerable communities within Ghana. P4P has sought to install links between smallholder farmers and Ghana´s national school feeding programme, and aspires to build up the capacity of female farmers. Click here for stories from the field.

For more photos on the study visit please visit our online gallery.

About the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger

The World Food Programme and the government of Brazil launched in partnership the WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger to promote sustainable national social safety nets based on the successes and lessons learnt from the Brazilian experience. The WFP Centre of Excellence is a bridge for south-south cooperation in capacity development in the areas of school feeding, nutrition and food security. It brings southern nations together who want to learn and develop their own programmes. Since its official launch in November 2011, the Centre has organized a total of 11 study visits from 11 countries. Learn more about it at: http://www.wfp.org/centre-of-excellence-hunger/news