Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nicaragua is Ready to Launch a National Dairy Campaign!

Traditionally, Partners of the Americas' Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Nicaragua has provided technical assistance at lower levels of the value chain; primarily in inputs/supplies, on-farm production, and processing. However, F2F provides technical assistance along all parts of a value chain. This is clear in Katherine Wingert's assignment. This month, Ms. Wingert traveled to Nicaragua to work with the Nicaraguan Chamber of the Dairy Sector (CANISLAC), the Nicaraguan Chamber of Beef Industry Exports (CANICARNE), and the National Cattleman’s Commission of Nicaragua (CONAGAN) to develop a national nutrition education campaign to increase domestic dairy and meat consumption in the country. 

Making cheese in Nicaragua
Livestock production in Nicaragua represents the country’s most important economic activity, accounting for 10% of GDP and 27% of total exports. However, consumption of meat and dairy and knowledge of the nutritional value of these products in rural parts of the country, is generally low. In most schools in Nicaragua, there is little to no education related to basic nutrition and healthy eating. On the other hand, private companies that sell unhealthy foods and processed snacks have widespread reach with the advertising and marketing of their products, which has contributed to the unhealthy eating habits many Nicaraguans. 

In an effort to promote the nutritional benefits of dairy and beef products, CANISLAC created the Dairy Campaign Committee to design a national nutritional education strategy. Ms. Wingert assisted the Committee in developing an action plan for the roll-out of the campaign. She also assisted the Committee in designing tools to conduct focus groups and interviews for a study to better define target populations for the campaign and to identify and address the factors that encourage or inhibit dairy and meat consumption throughout the country. Together, Ms. Wingert, the Dairy Campaign Committee, and F2F hosts, CANISLAC, CARNICARNE, and CONAGAN, have taken the first steps towards the ultimate goal of changing people’s eating habits and increasing dairy consumption. Stay tuned for updates from Ms. Wingert's trip report!

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