Fyffes Partners With the Food Bank of Honduras to Improve Nutrition and School Attendance of Honduran Children

With the aim of supporting healthy nutrition and reducing school absenteeism of children in the communities near Fyffes melon-producing farms in Choluteca, Honduras, Fyffes and the Food Bank of Honduras have created a pilot programme ‘Nutrition with Melon Flavour’ (or ‘Nutrición con Sabor a Melón’) which has already benefited 138 families.

The beneficiaries of the pilot programme are students from the Ramón Villeda Morales and Manuel Milciades Mendieta schools, from the communities of La Permuta and Tablones Abajo, both from the municipality of Santa Ana de Yusguare, Choluteca. The project involved delivering 13,151 nutritionally balanced lunches to the children, with a different menu for each day, including melons from Fyffes subsidiary Sol Group. The lunches were prepared by parents and facilitators from the Food Bank of Honduras, who took part in 16 training sessions and eight workshops on nutrition and promoting healthy eating habits. So far, Fyffes has donated 1,200 melons to local families.

Vanessa Caballero, Food Bank of Honduras Executive Director, explains: “Before the project ‘Nutrition with Melon Flavour’, only 24% (41) of the children were obtaining sufficient calories, and the rate of malnutrition was 49% (90 children). With the contribution of 600 daily calories provided through the programme’s nutritious meals, as well as the education and advice provided to families, it has been possible for 78% (135) of the children to reach sufficient consumption of daily calories. At the same time, the rate of malnutrition decreased by 16%, rescuing 31 children from malnutrition in just four months. We feel honoured to be able to change these lives through our work together with Sol Group and Fyffes.”

For her part, María Estrada, Director of the Ramón Villeda Morales school, stated: “This project is greatly welcomed by the entire student population, the Teachers’ Council, and the community in general. The children who were in a state of malnutrition have improved remarkably, also resulting in the improvement of their academic performance, especially those in first, second and third grade (six to nine years old), thus reducing absenteeism. We have high hopes for their results in the eight academic subjects.”

In addition to the meals and donations, this programme involved the evaluation, diagnosis, and monitoring of the children’s growth levels, as well as repairs and refurbishment of the school kitchens taking part in the programme. 

Michael Fletes, Sol Honduras Sustainability Coordinator and project leader, said: “Fyffes 2021 Community Needs Assessment told us that assess to nutritious food was a challenge for the community, despite the fact that we are harvesting nutritious melons in the same vicinity. Fyffes is delighted to partner with the Food Bank of Honduras, as it has successfully led this project at the operational level. We are pleased to be able to contribute to the wellbeing of these communities that experience serious deficits in food security and educational attainment. This pilot has helped inform our community investment strategy in the region as we expand our contribution to improving nutritional access in our neighbouring communities.” Ends. 

About Fyffes

For over 130 years, Fyffes has provided a selection of tropical produce to millions of people around the world. We strengthen relationships with our producers, support our employees and diligently attend to each link in the chain: production, procurement, transport, maturation, distribution and marketing, with the aim of achieving the highest quality.

This approach has earned Fyffes leadership in several markets: we are the largest importer of Fairtrade certified bananas in the world, one of the largest importers of bananas and pineapples in

Europe, and the largest importer of melons in North America. We joined Sumitomo Corporation in 2017, which continued to advance our industry leadership in many exciting ways. (www.fyffes.com)

About SOL Group

Grupo SOL is the largest producer, packer, shipper and distributor of the highest quality melons and watermelons, produced in the tropical microclimate of Central America to the North American market during the North American winter months. Since 2013, SOL is a subsidiary of Fyffes and employs between 13,000 and 15,000 seasonal workers in Choluteca and Ojo de Agua in Honduras and the Zacapa region in Guatemala.

About Banco De Alimentos Honduras

The Food Bank of Honduras is a non-profit, noble and supportive organization, leader in capturing, rescuing and distributing food, thus promoting the sustainable integral development of vulnerable groups in Honduras, these foods that we rescue are suitable for human consumption ready to be distributed to our beneficiaries who are in extreme poverty, food vulnerability and social risk, 10 years ago we worked to reduce the high rates of malnutrition, hunger,  poverty, food insecurity, loss and waste of food, thus achieving an impact on 5 sustainable development goals: End poverty, Zero Hunger, Responsible Production and Consumption, Climate Actions and Alliances to achieve the objectives.