FAO proposes a School Feeding ACT for students

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd. (FILE PHOTO)

Act will remove vendors from school campuses


The Bahamas arm of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) has proposed a “School Feeding Act” to legally prescribe what is to be sold and eaten by students on campuses across the nation.

The FAO’s plan of action follows its recent assessment of 15 different public schools during its time in the country. The organization conducted a study on healthier eating options for students.

Dr. Gillian Smith, FAO representative for The Bahamas, reported that the findings led to their report that school vendors feed 80 per cent of students compared to 12 per cent fed by caterers.

Meatime, only eight per cent of students are being fed by their parents, the report said.

The FAO also reasoned a new ‘school feeding unit’ to be another good initiative for healthier eating. The unit would administer public school’s resources to BAMSI and the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine to develop a program for greater local Bahamian Food production.

Last year, lunch vendors expressed concern over not being paid for several months by the government. Education Minister Jeff Lloyd said however, that the issue has been dealt with through the use of vouchers.

He noted that while the overall assessment by the FAO was done in good reason, the organization must come with a much tougher plan of action. He said that the idea of issuing a voucher system for vendors was already in place and that, if they want to strategically make a change in what has become a personal lifestyle for many of the students, they should consider tackling all mediums.

“We’ve got to deal with the issues of food that is imported in our country, and what duties do we apply to those food that are creating the problem and encourage the consumption of those food which we know are beneficial,” he said.

“We’re going to begin with the school lunch program, but we’ve got to go much further.”

With regard to the organization’s proposed School Feeding Act that would legally prescribe what can be eaten and sold on school premises, Lloyd said, he will address the proposal of the Act while in cabinet tomorrow.