Beng-initiated milk feeding program to launch soon PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:15

The National Dairy Authority (NDA), an agency attached to the Department of Agriculture will implement a school-based milk feeding program in Zamboanga City in August intended to improve the nutritional status of young school children.

Initiated by Mayor Beng Climaco when she was still member of the House of Congress in 2012, the milk feeding program will be a joint project of the NDA, the office of the City Mayor and the Department of Education.

NDA officials led by Marilyn Mabale recently introduced the program to the Local School Board during its first meeting under the leadership of Mayor Climaco. Samples of the milk products, which come in a variety of flavors were also given to the members.

“We will implement a school-based milk feeding program here in Zamboanga City, the funding comes from the national government but this was iniitated by Mayor Climaco when she was still in Congress but we were not able to implement it during her term [in Congress] due to time constraints,” Mabale told reporters covering City Hall.

As this developed, Mayor Climaco, expressed elation that the program will be finally launched soon per mandate of the NDA and in support of the programs of the NJB Farms.

Nutrition, she stressed forms part of the health initiatives which she passionately advocates for. “We are also happy that this [introduction/launching of the program] is happening, as we celebrate Nutrition Month”.

The program targets 5,208 Kinder and Grade 1 pupils who will be given 200 ml. chocolate milk five days a week for 120 feeding days or specifically from August 2013 to January 2014.

Mabale said the NDA partners with Zamboangueño Nonito Bernardo, operator of the NJB Farm in Ayala, a recipient of the Dairy Program of the agency. Under the partnership agreement, the NJB Farm avails of dairy cattle from NDA and operates the processing plant that will process, produce and supply the milk products to the target children/ beneficiaries in the city.

The program has a two-pronged objective: one is providing livelihood to the dairy operators and, two, to provide milk for the children, specifically those belonging to the vulnerable age group.

Mabale said the program’s P10 million funding will include administrative costs as the NDA will have to make sure that the feeding program is implemented according to its guidelines so that the expected output –the improvement in the nutritional status of the children –will be generated.

“We hope that the program will become an avenue to really promote milk especially among children,” Mabale said, adding that a committee will be crated to observe and monitor the implementation of the same. — Sheila Covarrubias