Pupils attending public schools in Tanzania will soon start enjoying free milk, a program set to cover more than 600 learning institutions across the Country.
The Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) says it may have to invest 15 billion/- in the provision of Ultra Heat Treated packed milk to the said schools, a project meant to start in the middle of this year.
According to the TDB registrar Dr George Msalya, the School Milk Program (SMP) is a five year program starting in mid-2023, catering for children in the envisaged 500 schools across the nation.
For starters the program will kick-off in regions where raw milk is available in plenty then later on expand to other areas and eventually covering the entire country.
The plan is to start with at least 100 schools in the fiscal year 2023/2024.
Later, 100 other schools will be added per annum in the following five years.
It is being anticipated that the annual number will later be upped to 125 schools per year.
By the year 2017 all pupils in some 625 schools in Tanzania should be receiving free packed milk.
Targeted children are those aged between 4 to 19 years.
Pupils and Students will be supplied with factory processed milk, which comes under various formats.
The intended products include the long shelf life, Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) milk, cultured milk or plain yoghurt.
The milk packs to be supplied are those 150 milliliters and 200 milliliters.
Parents will apparently be subjected to foot part of the bills to procure and process the milk for school children.
The Tanzania Dairy Board is working with the ministry of livestock and fisheries, other public and private institutions as well as international organizations in coming up with the special Action Plan for Implementation of the School Milk Program in Tanzania.
The SMPT is expected to run for six years between 2023 and 2028.
Tanzania school milk programs started at the turn of the new millennium in the year 2000.
In its initial phase the program managed to cover 125 schools, reaching out to 99,000 children.
But the program has since been facing many challenges including limited range of coverage, inadequate supply of dairy products and less cooperation from stakeholders.
This time the Tanzania Dairy Board will also involve parents and other potential parties to partner in the program.
The School Milk Program is meant to improve diet among children, encourage school attendance and increase pupils’ focus in class.
The ministry and the dairy board intend to construct 10 Milk Collection Centers (MCCs) every year and establish eight selling points to facilitate easy distribution of milk to schoolchildren.
The government is also exempting Value Added Tax from packaging materials, storage containers and cold rooms as well as delivery trucks in support of the program.
Among the stakeholders involved in the development of the Action Plan for Implementation of School Milk Program in Tanzania (2023-2028) include the President’s Office, (Regional Authority and Local Government) and the Prime Minister’s office.
There is also the Ministry of education, ministry of health, Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB).
Others are Tanzania Milk Processors and their association (TAMPA), Tanga Fresh Limited, ASAS Dairies Limited, Shambani Milk, Profate Dairy, Nronga Women Dairy, Land O’Lakes, Venture 37, Heifer International (Heifer Tanzania), Solidaridad, Nutrition Connect, TETRA Pack and SNV.