Food: The World Food Programme’s Deputy Regional Director in Asia and the Pacific region commended the government’s holistic approach to school meals during her recent call on with Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay.

The deputy director Parvathy Ramaswami was impressed in particular with the integration of agricultural activities such as school gardens, which enable children to supplement their diet with vegetables.

Bhutan has made impressive steps towards establishing a nationally-owned, sustainable school meals programme she told Lyonchoen on May 24.

“Giving a child a meal at school is a simple, cost-effective way to improve both education and health. There’s no learning on an empty stomach,” Parvathy Ramaswami said.

WFP has been providing food for students at school in Bhutan. Three years ago, WFP still provided meals to most of the 50,000 boarders and day students in the country.

As the government has taken responsibility for the programme, the agency has been phasing out its in-kind food assistance. Today, more than half of students receive meals through the government programme.

“As a nation, when we become more prosperous, we need to take responsibility and put in place a system for sustainable school meals,” Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said.

WFP supports in providing for the country’s food and nutrition security needs. The official expressed WFP’s willingness to provide expert advice in emergency preparedness, building resilience to climate change, or in the analysis of household food security trends.

WFP has been working in Bhutan since 1974. The current WFP operation (2014 – 2018) is provided with support from Australia, River Star Foundation, Canada, Japan Association for WFP and Yum! Brands.

Staff Reporter