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Fresh and organic products for school meals available: production and logistics center opens in Kyrgyzstan

Stories of success
On April 26, the Kadamjay district of the Batken region of the Kyrgyz Republic marked a big day for the local school feeding system – opening a production and logistics center. From now on, school cooks will prepare dishes from fresh and organic products grown by local farmers.

Established by UN WFP and SIFI as part of the “School Meals Optimization in the Kyrgyz Republic” programme, the center is housed by Biy Kok agricultural cooperative. The work process will be as follows: the center buys products from local farmers and checks their quality in its laboratory; part of the products is immediately delivered to schools, and part is kept at the vegetable storehouse; the rest is processed: the products are washed, peeled, cut, wrapped and frozen. Such products will be delivered to school canteens in a special refrigerator van when needed. Thus, the school cooks will spend less time preparing delicious and healthy vegetable soups or salads for the little ones.

The center has an essential component – a mobile laboratory. Not all products for schools are bought in bulk. Canteens can receive food from alums, sponsors, and other sources. The mobile laboratory will test the quality of such products on-site.

In his remarks at the center’s opening ceremony, Russia’s Consul General in Osh, Andrey Bibishev, said: “It’s a pilot project at the moment. However, if it operates efficiently, similar centers will be established in other regions of the country. This production and logistics center was built thanks to friendly ties between the Russian Federation and the Kyrgyz Republic. We always support initiatives with a humanitarian component.”

In addition to a vast contribution to the school feeding processes, the center will help boost the whole district’s development. “This center will help the locals increase their income because farmers can sell their products here." Kadamjay district administration head Kutpidin Shakirov commented.

Now, the schoolchildren of the Kadamjay district of the Batken region will be provided better meals: diverse, nutritious, and healthy dishes prepared from organic seasonal products. Local farmers, in turn, will get an additional and reliable sales market.

“SIFI’s technical support made establishing this center possible. I want to thank SIFI for this initiative and its implementation. Thanks to this project, the children in Kyrgyzstan will receive well-balanced meals. At the same time, local farmers will get additional income,” UN WFP Country Director in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kojiro Nakai, said.