Almost 2,000 schools benefit from milk and fruit schemes

Almost 2,000 schools benefitted from the School Milk Scheme and School Fruit Scheme in the past 12 months.

The School Milk Scheme had 1,052 schools and 50,484 pupil benefit from it, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The School Milk Scheme has operated in Ireland since 1982 with the objective of promoting and encouraging the consumption of milk among school children.

Its management is primarily through the National Dairy Council (NDC) in conjunction with the co-ops, but take-up is quite limited on a geographical level.

The Scheme provides for the payment of aid for milk products to school pupils and is co-financed by the EU and the MS, with the Department of Agriculture and Food being the responsible Department in Ireland.

The EU School Fruit Scheme commenced in 2009 and is run by Bord Bia as part of the Food Dudes programme to develop a taste for fruit and vegetables among primary schoolchildren. All operational matters including details of schools, numbers of pupils and locations, come under their operational remit.

In 2013/2014 884 schools with 141,359 availed of the scheme.

The national rollout of the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme/Food Dudes will be completed this year and the increased numbers planned for 2014-2015 reflect a new boost programme developed to enable the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme/Food Dudes to reach more primary schools annually, according to the Minister.

The Minister was answering questions in the Dail this week from Sin Fein TD Pearse Doherty.