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FAO opens greenhouses in schools in Tajikistan

Under an FAO pilot project, 20 schools in the Khatlon region (Vakhsh and Dusti districts and the city of Nurek) have been provided with 22 unheated greenhouses with drip irrigation systems. The Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute provides technical support.

Vegetables and greens grown in these greenhouses will be used for the preparation of fresh salads, which will be added to schoolchildren's basic hot meals to improve dietary diversity and nutritional value. Schools will be able to sell surpluses of grown products on the local market, and the money earned will be used to further improve school feeding.

The greenhouses also will serve as a platform for teaching schoolchildren the basics of agricultural labor and where healthy and tasty vegetables and greens come from. The modern technologies used in the greenhouses will be distributed among local farmers and rural people, helping them to improve yields through the transition to innovative practices.

Today's opening ceremony included speeches by representatives of government ministries and the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute. Directors of the pilot schools also spoke, and FAO present the results of the pilot project on cultivating vegetables in greenhouses.

Primary school children performed an interactive theatrical play teaching about greenhouses, their importance, and the best ways to care for plants.

Since 2013, the Republic of Tajikistan has developed strategic and policy documents for the Sustainable School Feeding Strategy in the Republic of Tajikistan, which was adopted by the Government in September 2017 for the period until 2027. This was made possible through the collaboration of the Government, international organizations and local authorities.

In 2016, FAO launched the comprehensive project "Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Selected Countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia," which is being implemented at the global, regional and country levels. The project focuses on building links between agriculture, nutrition and social protection within the national food systems. This greenhouse effort is part of that project. Other pilot work is being implemented in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, in collaboration with the Russian Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute.