BISHKEK (TCA) — A logistics centre has been opened in northern Kyrgyzstan’s Kemin district to aid in supplying local schools with fresh agricultural produce. An initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the centre should improve the quality of school meals and secure a sustainable market for local producers.
The centre will serve as a centralized procurement, storage, and quality control facility and will deliver agricultural products to schools and other social institutions throughout the district.
With a capacity of 250 tonnes, the centre can become a market integrator for the district. Thanks to “the turnkey work” of the centre, providing a comprehensive service, and reduction of logistics costs, a greater number of small producers will be able to sell their potato, eggplant, cabbage, carrot, onion, squash, beet, pepper, and other products, thereby increasing their competitiveness.
The logistics centre, with a total warehouse area of 270 square meters, is furnished with the necessary equipment for cool storage and laboratory quality control of agricultural products. The centre also has a delivery truck with thermobox for transporting agricultural products to schools, where the food will be used to cook children’s meals.
“Our aim is to promote the participation of small producers of agricultural products in the overall process of supplying schools with high-quality food, ensuring a healthy diet,” said Mauricio Rosales, FAO project coordinator. “We are working to ensure that this pilot achieves good results and motivate other district administrations to apply a similar centralized model.”
The centre will be run by local personnel. At the beginning, an FAO expert will aide in building networks with farmers, schools and other partners, as well as in coordinating and monitoring agricultural products procurement and delivery of food to beneficiaries.
In his speech at the centre’s opening ceremony, Dorjee Kinlay, FAO Representative in Kyrgyzstan, noted that one of FAO’s main priorities is to help the country achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 by 2030.
“The United Nations supports Kyrgyzstan to improve food security in the country,” Kinlay said. “This newly built facility will not only improve the food quality in the district, but it will also create economic opportunities for local smallholder farms to supply schools with fresh food. It provides a good basis for FAO and the World Food Programme to foster food security together.”
The establishment of the logistics centre is part of a wider effort aimed at strengthening food security and nutrition in selected countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. The project is implemented by FAO, with financial assistance from the Russian Federation and with the technical assistance of the Russian Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute. This activity was also supported by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Agriculture, Food Industry and Melioration and the Kemin District Public Administration.