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    30/05/2017 11:50 GMT
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Project Leche

As the world leader in taste and nutrition, Kerry understands the importance of a diverse diet for a healthy, happy lifestyle. There is enough food in the world for everyone, yet almost 800 million people around the world still struggle to meet their daily food needs and up to 1 in 4 children suffer developmental stunting as a result of undernutrition.

Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals targets ‘Zero Hunger’ by 2030 and at Kerry we are determined to play a role in helping to achieve this milestone. As a business, we want to share our knowledge and expertise in a way that helps to develop lasting solutions and we work with partners who can help us to multiply our impact.

Project Leche is a pioneering three-year partnership between Kerry Group and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the leading humanitarian organisation fighting hunger worldwide, that leverages our dairy heritage and nutritional capabilities to ensure that more sustainable dairy products are included in WFP’s school meals programme for children. This pilot project will take place in the Dry Corridor region of Honduras. It will promote sustainable, more efficient dairy farming and connect smallholder farmers to the Government backed school meals programme.

In addition to providing extensive nutritional, agricultural, quality and processing expertise, Kerry is also providing a direct financial donation of $750,000, which will be used to fund the project.

Recurrent natural disasters and a susceptibility to the effects of climate change contribute to food insecurity in Honduras. A combination of hurricanes and prolonged drought severely affect the ability of subsistence farmers to produce enough food to feed their families.

WFP has been supporting Honduran communities since 1970 and a core element of their work is the School Meals Programme. Funded largely by the Honduran Government and managed by WFP, this programme provides meals to 95 percent of the country’s total school population. The programme supports access to education and reduces gender inequality, giving families an incentive to send their children to school. WFP’s Home Grown School Meals (HGSM) Programme goes one step further by purchasing food from small, local producers whenever possible, helping to strengthen local economies. 

Under Project Leche, Kerry and WFP have a number of key goals.

(A) Build a Sustainable Milk Supply.

Born out of the cooperative movement in South West Ireland, Kerry has proud roots in sustainable agricultural production and community development. With 45 years’ experience in dairy, we will share our technical expertise with Honduran farmers so that they can learn from the knowledge we have acquired over that time.

Our colleagues from the Group’s Agribusiness division will work with WFP personnel to examine how the sustainability of smallholder farms can be improved and how the milk that is produced can be safely stored and processed.

(B) Increase the Nutritional Value of School Meals

The key aim of the programme is to nutritionally optimise the school meals provided to Honduran children through the inclusion of dairy products. In collaboration with our leading nutritionists, WFP will incorporate these dairy ingredients to provide healthier, more diverse meals in local schools.

Not only will this benefit the school children, but by sourcing the milk locally we will also help create a sustainable market for smallholder farmers in the community.

(C) Promote Nutritional Awareness

In addition to making a direct impact on children’s diets through improving school meals, we also want to increase the level of nutritional awareness amongst children, parents and teachers. By educating communities on the sources of key nutrients and the benefits of a balanced, healthy diet, we aim to create an awareness of good nutrition that will endure long after the project has been completed.

As the first Irish corporate partner of WFP, we are extremely proud of our involvement with this programme. It leverages many of our core strengths to help address an important global issue. Over the course of this partnership, we will report on our progress and the impacts of the project on the communities involved.

For more information on the World Food Programme, visit: www.wfp.org

Photography: ©WFP/Hetze Tosta.

WFP does not endorse any product or service.