EU support programme for the supply of fruit, vegetables and milk to educational institutions, implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture in Latvia, has been very popular among children and young people for several years.
According to preliminary data from the Rural Support Service of Latvia (RSS), the support programme for year 2018/2019 involved 1311 educational establishments, 1242 of which distributed fruit and vegetables and 1152 – milk. In these educational institutions 253 017 thousand children (91% of the target audience) received free fruit and vegetables and 238 247 thousand children (86% of the target audience) received milk.
In total EU funded product distribution support programmes for schools in Latvia by 2019 used more than 35 thousand tons of milk and milk products (since 2004) and more than 6 thousand tons of fruit and vegetables (since 2010), and total value of products distributed reaches 33,2 million euros (national and EU funding).
The program stipulates that fresh fruits (apples, pears, cranberries), vegetables (carrots, kohlrabi, cabbage, pumpkins) or assorted products, as well as pasteurized milk without additives, children can receive free of charge three times a week during the school year distribution period in pre-primary education institutions and in grades 1-9. The distribution period starts on October 1 and lasts until May 31 (grade 1-9) and until July 31 in pre-schools. However, the availability of products throughout the distribution period depends on seasonal availability and the funding constraint – for every educational establishment an individual support envelope is calculated, which depends on the number of children enrolled at school.
In order to popularize the programme in year 2018 and 2019 several educational and informative events were implemented, including seminars for teachers, competition for pre-school students “From seed to table”, activity “ZZ Championship”, etc. The programme website: www.piensaugliskolai.lv also regularly publishes and updates informative and educational information related to the support programme.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Latvia informs that all applications for participation in the programme 2019/2020 (if not obtained already in the previous school year) have to submit to RSS by September 10, 2019.
Information on product manufacturers wishing to offer their products in the programme this school year, information on applicants already approved in the support programme is available on RSS website.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Latvia invites product manufacturers, support applicants, and educational institutions not involved in the program to contact each other, to seek cooperation and to agree on the delivery of the products and implementation of the support programme.
The joint support programme for supply of fruit, vegetables and milk to educational institutions runs from year 2017/2018 (previously – separate programmes “School Milk” and “School Fruit”).