GITEGA November 2nd (ABP) – The 2nd Deputy President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Joseph Butore, officially launched the project to strengthen the local milk value chain at the Masama Basic School on November 29, 2019, in Mutaho commune, Gitega province ( central Burundi).

Placed under the theme “Because every child deserves the best”, the ceremonies were attended by the Education Minister, technical and financial partners of that project, for instance, the ambassador of France to Burundi and the regional director of the World Food Program (WFP) in East Africa, staff of the Provincial Directorate of Education of Gitega, schoolchildren of Masama basic school and a large crowd of people from the village said above.

In his address, Mr. Butore said that the Government of Burundi is fully committed to advancing school feeding. In 2018, he said, the same government granted $ 2.4 million, including $ 1 million to strengthen the milk chain in the country.

Speaking about the purpose of the said project, he said that it aims to increase the production and marketing of milk to improve the food and nutritional security of children and the income of farmers.

Mr. Butore said, “The project will also facilitate access to 13,500 primary school children in Gitega province to a ratio of 250 ml of milk each, twice a week for a year,” adding that 5,000 farming households, especially women, will be equipped with techniques for collecting, storing and transporting milk.

In addition, Mr. Butore said that in its national sector plan for education (2012-2020), the Burundi government considers the school feeding program as a strategy to strengthen the resilience of the education system. To that end, he indicated that “the program of school canteens improves the school performance and helps to fight against the school dropout”.

He thanked the French Government and WFP for their interventions in the installation of that project and asked them to extend the activities of the project in all provinces of the country. To the people, he asked to regroup into farming cooperatives for the project to have supply markets.

Previously, Education Minister Janvière Ndirahisha had warned those who would want to divert milk intended for schoolchildren, arguing that they will be punished without mercy.

As for France’s ambassador to Burundi, Mr. Stéphane Gruenberg and WFP regional director in East Africa, Mrs. Erica Joergensen, they commended the Burundi government’s efforts in the fight against malnutrition while promising to always be at its side.

That project has received financial support of 500 million euros from the French government. In Gitega province, it will work in the Mutaho, Nyarusange, Ryansoro and Buraza communes. At the national level, it already covers seven provinces, according to Minister Ndirahisha.

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