WFP launching school feeding pilot bakeries in Tajikistan

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — School bakeries installed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in two schools in Norak and Roghun in Tajikistan will benefit around 3,600 children in schools throughout the two districts, the WFP said.

The schools are part of WFP’s school meals programme that provides a daily nutritious hot lunch to almost 370,000 schoolchildren in over 2,000 schools in rural Tajikistan.

“The two bakeries will produce bread using WFP’s vitamin and mineral-enriched wheat flour and they will have the capacity to provide nutrient-rich bread to eight schools in Roghun and 14 schools in Norak,” said WFP Deputy Country Director in Tajikistan Andrea Bagnoli. “Baking the bread inside the school allows for better control over the quality of the bread served to the children. This investment will prove vital in increasing the schools’ capacity in the two district and help ensure a regular supply of delicious bread from the school bakeries.”

The bakery pilot is a collaboration project with the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute’s (SIFI) and is one of the capacity-building activities which are part of WFP’s school meals programme. Both schools already benefit from WFP food supplies that include fortified wheat flour, pulses, fortified oil and iodized salt.

SIFI technicians installed the equipment and trained staff at both schools.

“A well-equipped kitchen not only saves time, it allows students to observe a professional bread baking process and most importantly improves the overall quality of the bread,” said Shoev Sangali, the director of School No.1 in Roghun. “The process is now a lot more streamlined and efficient, it was all done manually before and it took an entire day to bake bread for the school’s 600 students. Now, with the upgraded bakery, it would take no more than two hours.”

Tajikistan’s school feeding programme is WFP’s primary activity in the country and it aims at strengthening national social protection systems. The programme started in 1999 with only 5,000 schoolchildren in 33 schools and has been expanding ever since. In 2015, WFP school feeding covered 60 percent of all rural schools in the country.

The Russian Federation has been a major donor to Tajikistan’s School Feeding Programme since 2005 and actively supports the current transition process by which ultimately the programme will be run entirely by the government.

Sergey Kwan

TCA