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Local farmers in Africa to benefit from school meal programs
Date:10/15/2009

order to produce nutritious foods in the right quantity and quality for the school meal programmes.

The first countries expected to benefit from the project will be Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi and Kenya. In addition to helping governments run school meal programmes, the project will also be conducting a series of studies to analyse their cost and impact. Previous studies have suggested that government-led school meal programmes can improve rural economies and create jobs and profits in addition to providing healthy food and improving access to education for children. The researchers hope to build on these case studies to produce an accurate picture of the impact of school meal programmes on farmers and children.

According to the UN, more than 60 million children go to school hungry every day worldwide. Research has shown that providing free, nutritious school lunches can improve children's health, giving them an incentive to enrol in classes and improve their attendance at school. Studies have also shown that school meals can improve children's concentration and learning ability.

Dr Drake added: "Millions of school children are facing poverty and hunger every day. For many of them, a school meal is the only reliable, nutritious meal they get each day and it is often the reason they go to school. Getting an education is really important for these kids, as it helps them to get jobs and break out of the poverty cycle. We hope our new project will help governments make sure these children are fed and educated."

This grant is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Agricultural Development initiative, which is working with a wide range of partners to provide millions of small farmers in the developing world with tools and opportunities to boost their yields, increase their incomes, and build better lives for themselves and their families. The foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain-from seeds and
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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
lucy.goodchild@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-46702
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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