Fyffes Partners with the Food Bank of Honduras
To support healthy nutrition and reduce school absenteeism of children in the communities near Fyffes melon-producing farms in Choluteca, Honduras, Fyffes, and the Food Bank of Honduras have created a pilot programme, 'Nutrition with Melon Flavour' (or 'Nutrición con Sabor a Melón') which has already benefited 138 families.
The beneficiaries of the pilot programme are students from the Ramón Villeda Morales and Manuel Milciades Mendieta schools, from the communities of La Permuta and Tablones Abajo, both from the municipality of Santa Ana de Yusguare, Choluteca. The project involved delivering 13,151 nutritionally balanced lunches to the children, with a different daily menu, including melons from Fyffes subsidiary Sol Group. Parents and facilitators prepared the lunches from the Food Bank of Honduras, which participated in 16 training sessions and eight workshops on nutrition and promoting healthy eating habits. So far, Fyffes has donated 1,200 melons to local families.
Vanessa Caballero, Food Bank of Honduras Executive Director, explains: "Before the project' Nutrition with Melon Flavour', only 24% (41) of the children were obtaining sufficient calories, and the rate of malnutrition was 49% (90 children). With the contribution of 600 daily calories provided through the programme's nutritious meals, as well as the education and advice provided to families, it has been possible for 78% (135) of the children to reach sufficient consumption of daily calories. At the same time, the rate of malnutrition decreased by 16%, rescuing 31 children from malnutrition in just four months. We feel honoured to be able to change these lives through our work together with Sol Group and Fyffes."
For her part, María Estrada, Director of the Ramón Villeda Morales school, stated: "This project is greatly welcomed by the entire student population, the Teachers' Council, and the community in general. The children who were in a state of malnutrition have improved remarkably, also resulting in the improvement of their academic performance, especially those in first, second and third grade (six to nine years old), thus reducing absenteeism. We have high hopes for their results in the eight academic subjects."
In addition to the meals and donations, the program involved the evaluation, diagnosis, and monitoring of the children's growth levels and repairs and refurbishment of the school kitchens participating in the programme.
Michael Fletes, Sol Honduras Sustainability Coordinator and project leader, said: "Fyffes 2021 Community Needs Assessment told us that assess to nutritious food was a challenge for the community, despite the fact that we are harvesting nutritious melons in the same vicinity. Fyffes is delighted to partner with the Food Bank of Honduras, as it has successfully led this project at the operational level. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the wellbeing of these communities that experience serious deficits in food security and educational attainment. This pilot has helped inform our community investment strategy in the region as we expand our contribution to improving nutritional access in our neighbouring communities."