Diversifying institutional food procurement: opportunities and barriers for integrating biodiversity for food and nutrition in Brazil
The Brazilian Food Procurement Program (PAA) and the National School Feeding Program (PNAE) were identified by the GEF-funded Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project (BFN)¹ as policy instruments with the greatest potential for diversifying institutional food procurement and improving diets while supporting family farming. This paper discusses the opportunities identified for mainstreaming biodiversity through PAA and PNAE, targeted activities undertaken as well as two case studies. The first case study presents findings linked to the implementation of the PNAE in quilombola communities in Goiás, while the second describes results of the inclusion of Juçara fruits (Euterpe edulis Mart.) in school meals in São Paulo. The paper concludes by highlighting some of the key barriers to better biodiversity mainstreaming and institutional food procurement together with some recommendations.
At present there are many barriers and obstacles in Brazil, as there are elsewhere, preventing the better integration of biodiversity for enhancing food and nutrition. These challenges include: the knowledge and evidence gap that exists around native biodiversity and its nutritional value; limited capacity and research partnerships to address this; making this information widely available and in formats that meet the knowledge needs of a wide range of actors (from nutritionists to senior policy makers); establishing policy platforms and revising policy and regulatory frameworks; identifying and developing markets both public and private; and, promoting greater awareness and understanding of the nutrition and food benefits of native biodiversity. This paper highlights how these challenges are being tackled in Brazil through improving knowledge, partnerships and alliances as well as awareness and understanding of the nutritional value and multiple benefits of native biodiversity. Specifically, it highlights how this is being brought to bear on already existing government initiatives and public policies that regulate and guide procurement and distribution of food, thereby creating a better enabling environment for biodiversity mainstreaming for food and nutrition security.