SEARCA, AFA to hold a policy forum on sustainable and inclusive school food and nutrition programs

  • 22 April 2023

SEARCA, AFA to hold a policy forum on sustainable and inclusive school food and nutrition programs

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) partners with the Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) in organizing a regional policy forum titled From Farms to Schools: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive School-Based Food and Nutrition Programs in Southeast Asia. The policy forum will be held on 24–25 April 2023 and will be conducted through a hybrid format that includes both virtual (via Zoom) and in-person attendees at Crimson Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines.

The activity aims to maximize opportunities in the nutrition-education-development nexus by including family farmers in new and existing school-based food and nutrition programs in Southeast Asia. It gathers stakeholders from the region's government ministries of education and representatives from farmer groups and civil society organizations, academe, and the private sector to discuss potential policy interventions and courses of action to ensure sustainability and inclusiveness of school-based food and nutrition programs.

Participating organizations will be encouraged to develop and implement sustainable and inclusive school-based and food nutrition programs backed by their governments' strong policies and initiatives. The event will also explore partnerships and collaborative activities in addressing the region's food and nutrition security issues through school-based food and nutrition programs.

The forum will begin with opening messages from AFA Secretary General Ma. Estrella Banzuela and Director of the International Cooperation Office of the Department of Education (DepEd) Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros. Ms. Lina Rospita, program coordinator of the health division of the ASEAN Secretariat, will deliver the keynote address.

Other resource speakers include Mr. Dipayan Bhattacharyya, deputy country director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the Philippines; Dr. Maria Antonia Tuazon, senior nutrition and food systems specialist and Pierre Ferrand, agriculture officer both from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Dr. Jesus Fernandez, deputy director for programs of the Regional Center for Food and Nutrition (RECFON); representatives from the Ministries of Education of Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines; and Ms. Mercedes Castillo, chief operating officer of the Philippine Family Farmers' Agriculture Fishery Forestry Cooperatives Federation (AgriCOOPh).

The newly appointed director of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat, Datuk Dr. Habibah Abdul Rahim, will deliver a closing message.

(This event is by invitation only.)