WISHH Cultivates Trade & Development through USDA Cochran Fellowships for School Nutrition

With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), ASA’s WISHH provided nutrition and school meals training in Washington, D.C. and Delaware for eight representatives of governments or non-governmental organizations based in Nicaragua and Panama. FAS requested that WISHH conduct the training through the Cochran Fellowship Program that strengthens trade linkages while also helping countries develop agricultural systems necessary to meet their populations’ needs for food. FAS in-country staffs requested the training for the participants from Panama’s Ministries of Health and Education as well as Panamanian and Nicaraguan non-governmental organizations that are responsible for meals for thousands of children and other social programs. The Nicaraguan participants included a representative of the United Nations World Food Program as well as World Vision and the Fabretto Foundation. Several of the groups are implementing USDA McGovern Dole Food for Education Programs that provides them with U.S. corn-soy blend.

Held September 30-October 7, WISHH’s training introduced these decision makers to long-time WISHH supply chain partner, Alimentos S.A., which purchases U.S. soy and corn to make a variety of foods for school meals and more.  ASA Chairman Richard Wilkins, Delaware Soybean Board Chairman James H. “Jay” Baxter, IV and soybean grower David Marvel met with the Fellows to discuss on-farm sustainability and quality assurance practices. Marvel also facilitated Colonial Delaware School visits for the group, which were timely given October is National Farm to School Month. Participants gave the training high marks for increasing their knowledge of school meals as well as opportunities to increase trade with the United States. WISHH is working with the participants as well as Alimentos to follow up on the interest to use more foods made with U.S. soy.