Kathmandu: Following the media reports that the rice supplied under the school feeding program was of inferior quality, the World Food Program, Nepal has asked the concerned authorities ‘to address the issue in a timely manner’ to ensure uninterrupted supplies to the school feeding program.
In a statement signed by Robert Kasca, WFP country director in Nepal, the organization reads,: “During a recent visual inspection of WFP food cargo at the Nepalgunj border crossing point, three bags of rice – out of 1,080 bags (54,000 kg) – were found discolored and the rice inside damaged by seawater during shipping.”
WFP has requested the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) to sample and test the rice as per the testing standards and protocol of the Government of Nepal, the statement further reads.
WFP has also expressed its concern about the condition of the shipment, which, according to the statement by the country director, ‘has been stranded for more than a month at the border crossing point – in the open, without proper handling and storage in a bonded warehouse’.
We have asked the authorities to address this in a timely manner. We remain confident tests will be conducted and results will be released as soon as possible by authorities to allow us to take the necessary steps to ensure uninterrupted supplies to the school feeding program, adds the statement.
Since 2014, WFP has provided fortified rice to children in hard-to-reach areas through the mid-day school meal program, reaching 250,000 children throughout Nepal.
“Providing safe, healthy, and nutritious food to the people we serve is the utmost priority at WFP,” mentions the statement. “We strictly adhere to international standards as well as the specific protocols and regulations of the Government of Nepal when procuring and distributing food assistance to Nepali communities.”