Food Security and the School Feeding System: experience of the Russian Federation


A spike in the food commodity prices in 2007-2009, and then the financial crisis and global economic downturn, has led to unprecedented growth the number of hungry and malnourished people in the world reached a peak of more than 1 billion people.

The increased political attention to the issue of global food security has led to an increase in the number of commitments on financial resources allocated to agriculture and food aid, as well as to address the structural factors, especially in the frame of G8.

The Russian Federation consistently increases its contribution to mitigation of the global food crisis consequences, including strengthening cooperation with UN World Food Programme.

A breakthrough area of ??cooperation becomes a Russia's proposal for the development of WFP "School meals" and "Purchasing for Progress" programs in the current economic conditions as an integrated project aimed at the establish a food facilitating mechanisms for the poorest and most vulnerable population with the simultaneous development of rural areas and the local agricultural production.

A joint Russia-WFP pilot project on the implementation of complex school feeding system in the Republic of Armenia includes the development and promotion of modern, comprehensive and targeted feeding systems in the Armenian schools.

The main objectives of this project are:

         Ensuring children's health

         Improving the quality of education

         Poverty Reduction

         Improving social security of citizens

         The development of food industry, small businesses in rural areas

         The contribution to the elimination of the demographic crisis consequences

         Institutional reforms

         Increasing the contribution of agriculture to country GDP.

The Project includes direct food aid for the 50 000 of pupils in 700 schools and development of the National School Feeding Strategy by the Russian experts.

The development of the National School Feeding Strategy in Armenia was started by the analysis of the current situation in this sphere.

The results of comprehensive assessment demonstrated the following reasons of necessity sustainable school feeding in Armenia.

First, school feeding directly contributes to the quality of education. So the project implemented in Armenia contributes to the regular school attendance and suppress short-term hunger. School administrators and teachers reported that daily food allowance increases attendance and concentration of children.

Secondly, school feeding implemented at state policy level may have the most positive effect on the development of socio-economic situation in the country, primarily on the reduction of poverty, improvement of social security, increase of food safety. Project also included integration of local smallholder agriculture and food producers.

Third, proper organization of school feeding contributes to overcoming demographic problems and health problems nationwide.

The first results of project implementation demonstrated that the sustainable school feeding system becomes one of the long-term Armenia Government development target. In December 2012 the Government of Armenia approved the Concept of Sustainable School Feeding Program and in March 2013 the Sustainable School Feeding Strategy should be developed.

At that moment the school feeding programme covers 50 000 children in 750 schools whereof:

- 37500 children in 560 schools provided by cooked meals;

- 12500 children in 190 schools which do not have the necessary facilities to prepare cooked meals provided by high-energy biscuits.

On December 27,2012 the Government of Armenia adopted developed by the Ministry of Education of Armenia with the support of Russian experts the Concept of Sustainable School Feeding Program. In accordance with the Concept the Government of Armenia for the first time in modern history provides for in the budget about 3 mln. USD for the school feeding programme budgeting in 2013 – 2016. 

The success of the joint Russia-WFP Project in Armenia allows putting forward the initiative on assistance to the national governments in establishment of sustainable feeding systems for the most vulnerable population, first of all for the school children’s.

In future we assume to apply this experience in other countries of Central Asian Region (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan) and in the countries of Deauville Partnership (Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia).