The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Brazil today signed an agreement in Rome paving the way for collaboration on school nutrition programmes in poor nations.
The initiative aims to help other countries benefit from Brazil's National School Nutrition Programme and Zero Hunger Programme championed by President Lula da Silva of Brazil.
"This is a special occasion as we start a new era of collaboration between the Government of Brazil and FAO in support of other countries for better nutrition, especially for schoolchildren," said the agency's Assistant Director-General, Henri Carsalade.
Haiti will be the first country to benefit from the Brazilian school nutrition experience. At the same time, Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique will collaborate with Brazil and FAO on broader food security programmes. With FAO's backing, Brazil will send experts to these countries to help them design and carry out the initiatives.
Brazil's National School Nutrition Programme provides meals to 37 million schoolchildren and adolescents up to 14 years of age, representing around 20 per cent of the country's population. Brazil invests about $500 million each year in feeding its children.
Mr. Carsalade praised Brazil's Zero Hunger Programme for its efficiency and efficacy, adding that it "holds great promise for other countries."
President Lula was at FAO's headquarters in Rome today along with numerous other dignitaries, including President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi of Italy, to attend a ceremony marking the agency's 60th anniversary.
FAO "must adapt to the changes of the last 60 years if it is to rise to new challenges and profit from emerging opportunities," the agency's Director-General, Jacques Diouf, told participants.
Mr. Diouf said that he was seeking approval from FAO Member States to implement a programme that "will enable the Organization to play an increasing effective role in hunger eradication, in the development of sustainable agriculture, in food safety, in the control of transboundary plant and animal pests and diseases, and in the negotiation of a more equitable regime of trade for agricultural commodities."