Eat Smart - Provision of Organic Food for School Lunches
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
#SDG1 - No Poverty
#SDG2 - Zero Hunger
#SDG8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
#SDG12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
#SDG15 - Life on Land
◆Implementation Period: 2011 - Present ◆Partners: The organic product supply chain in Taiwan
The overarching aim was to promote organic farming, which is considered to be more ecological friendly than conventional mode. The decision to include organic vegetable in school lunch has multiple merits. First, the policy was appealing to parents who are always concerned about the health of their kids. Second, it created an opportunity to educate the next generation about what they eat, and these kids could further promote the concept of organic food back in their families. Most importantly, this policy created a stable demand for organic vegetable which encourage more farmer to opt for organic farming over conventional mode.
This policy unprecedented, hence its initiation actually involves the creation of an entire supply chain of organic vegetable and fruits. We needed to find contract organic farmers, to help to set up new fruit and vegetable processing factories that are organic-certified, and to construct a series of standard operating procedures (SOP). We also built a quality control team consisting of staff from our Agriculture Department, Education Department and Health Department to perform regular inspections of the various parties involved.
The Department of Education allocates additional NT 116.48 million dollars per year on organic vegetables for municipal schools.
There are now 640 schools and kindergartens involved in this project. More than 360,000 students benefiting from consuming organic vegetables in their school lunch. This program also provide an opportunity to teach students about healthy eating.
The traditional governmental approach to promote agriculture focused on production-side subsidies, but did not take the sales-side into consideration. This project effectively increases the demand for organic vegetables, due to the purchase for school lunch.
In 1999, the verified area of organic vegetable farm in Taiwan was 1,436 hectares, and the actual output was only 3,220 metric tons. After this project was implemented, the demand from New Taipei City’s school accounted for Taiwan’s 60% organic production in 2013.
◆Influence on the Whole Organic Farming Industry in Taiwan
Moreover, this stable need for organic food encourages more farmers to adopt organic agriculture, as well as amplifies the benefit of having organic food. In 2018, the output of organic food approximately increases by 15 times in Taiwan, though the share from this project becomes only 5%.
With the project, consumption of organic produce is increasing, and organic farmers also have more sales channels. It also raises citizens’ awareness on food safety and promotes the concepts of healthy dining.
This project has transformed the organic product supply chain and the citizens’ awareness on healthy food nationwide. In 1999, consumers had little knowledge about organic products, which were only sold in few organic stores. Nowadays, people have known and embraced organic food. As a whole, their consumption boost the organic industry.