Archive pour la catégorie ‘Agriculture - Fisheries’

Europe in lack of science graduates

Mercredi 16 novembre 2011

According to two reports by the European Commission today, Member States are invited to encourage science graduates.

The report on mathematics education reveals that only five European countries (England, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland and Norway) have set national targets to boost achievement levels, although a majority of EU Member States provide general guidelines to address pupils’ difficulties in this area. The report on science shows that no Member States have specific national support policies for low achievers, although five countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France and Poland) have launched programmes to tackle low achievement in general. The reports conclude that although much has been achieved in updating mathematics and science curricula, support for the teachers responsible for implementing the changes is still lacking.

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said that Europe needs to improve its educational performance. Both mathematics and science play a crucial role in modern curricula in meeting not only the needs of the labour market, but also for developing active citizenship, social inclusion and personal fulfilment. These studies show that although progress is being made, we still have a long way to go. We also need to address gender balance so that more girls are encouraged in science and mathematics. It’s time to step up our efforts to support the teaching profession and to help children who are struggling at school.

Both reports provide a comparative analysis of approaches to teaching mathematics and science, with the aim of contributing to European and national debate on how to improve standards.

Concerns about achievement levels led to Education Ministers adopting an EU-wide benchmark in 2009 which called for the share of 15-year-olds with insufficient abilities in mathematics, science and reading to be less than 15% by the end of the decade. Of 18 EU countries with comparable data, Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands are the best performers, with Bulgaria and Romania at the other end of the scale (see IP/11/488)

Background
Mathematics

Mathematical competence has been identified by Education Ministers as one of the key competences necessary for personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability in a knowledge society.

A range of factors influence the way mathematics is taught and learned. International surveys suggest that pupils’ attainment is related to family background, quality of teaching and to the structure and organisation of education systems.

The report on mathematics education (the first produced for the Commission) finds that a majority of European countries have adopted an outcome-based approach, where the focus is on pupils’ practical skills. The amount of mathematics content in curricula has decreased while the focus on problem-solving and the application of mathematics has increased. This approach better responds to the needs of students and pupils and clearly shows how they can apply mathematics in the real world.

The challenge that remains, however, is providing the necessary support to teachers, which calls for continuing training. In addition, support and guidance for teaching diverse groups of students need to be strengthened.

Science
Only eight countries (Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, the United Kingdom and Norway) have overall strategies for promoting science education which address the curricula, teaching methods and further training for teachers. Of the countries which do not have such a strategy, most run individual programmes and projects such as school partnerships and science centres.

In addition, most European countries promote innovative ways of teaching science, such as inquiry-based learning, from primary level onwards. Most also recommend engaging students in discussions on environmental concerns and demonstrating practical applications of science in daily life.

While this is encouraging, specific national support policies for low achievers in science subjects do not exist in any European country. Instead, support is covered by a general framework of measures for pupils with learning difficulties, irrespective of the subject. These include differentiated teaching, one-to-one tuition, peer assisted learning, tutoring and ability grouping.

Eurydice
The studies were compiled by the Eurydice network and focus on curriculum reforms, teaching and assessment methods. They address tackling low achievement, increasing motivation through focusing e.g. on practical applications and teacher education. They examine each topic in the light of academic research, the latest results from international surveys and an in-depth review of national policies and programmes.

The Eurydice Network provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. It consists of 37 national units based in all 33 countries participating in the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme (EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). It is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels, which provides a range of online resources.

Extension of the food distribution programme for the most deprived

Mardi 15 novembre 2011

A temporary compromise was reached today for the pursuit of food distribution programme for the most deprived.

On Monday, at the Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, presided over by Minister Marek Sawicki, the Polish Presidency achieved a compromise on extending the food distribution programme for the most deprived. The support of a qualified majority has been guaranteed for the programme’s temporary functioning in 2012 and 2013 in accordance with the agreed terms. The agreed draft compromise will be submitted to the next EU Council for formal approval.

Since the European Commission first presented draft changes to the programme in 2010, the proposal has on three occasions been the subject of discussion in the Council forum. Each time it was opposed by a ‘blocking minority’. Thanks to the efforts of the Polish Presidency, the proposed compromise solution should ensure the system’s practical functioning for another two years.

Some 18 million people in the European Union benefit from the programme, including four million in Poland. Next year €480 million will be designated for this purpose.

The agriculture and fisheries of the EU in figures

Mercredi 9 novembre 2011

The paperback book on statistics of agriculture and fishing is available.

Which Member States are the main producers of cereals? Which Member State produces the most drinking milk and the most cheese and where is the most beef, pork and poultry meat produced?

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2011 edition of the Pocketbook on Agriculture and fishery statistics1 issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

The pocketbook presents selected tables and graphs providing a statistical overview of the agricultural sector in the European Union. The most recent data are presented for the 27 Member States as well as the EFTA countries when available. This pocketbook, intended for both generalists and specialists, is divided into seven chapters: milk and milk products, agricultural accounts and prices, main agricultural products, agriculture and the environment, land cover and land use, rural regions and fishery statistics.

This News Release presents a small selection of the information found in the pocketbook.

Almost half of total harvested EU cereal production came from France, Germany and Poland

Cereals are the main crops grown on arable land in the EU27. After a large cereal production in 2008, favoured by good weather conditions during the year and high cereal prices the previous year, production fell in 2009 and 2010, due to a decrease in the total area under cereals and less favourable weather conditions. On average, the EU27 produced around 300 million tonnes of cereals per year over the period 2008-2010.

Based on the average production for 2008-2010, France (23% of the EU27 total) was the largest producer of cereals, followed by Germany (16%), Poland (10%), the United Kingdom (8%), Spain (7%) and Italy (6%). For all three of the main cereals harvested in the EU (wheat, barley and grain maize), France was the main producer.

Germany, France and Italy the largest cheese producers in the EU27

Cow’s milk collection2 in the EU27 reached 136.4 million (mn) tonnes in 2010. From this milk, 31.5 mn tonnes of drinking milk and 9.0 mn tonnes of cheese, among other products, were produced.

The United Kingdom (6.9 mn tonnes or 22% of the EU27 total) was the largest producer of drinking milk, followed by Germany (5.3 mn tonnes or 17%), France (3.7 mn tonnes or 12%) and Spain (3.5 mn tonnes or 11%).

Germany (2.1 mn tonnes or 23% of the EU27 total), France (1.9 mn tonnes or 21%), Italy (1.2 mn tonnes or 13%), the Netherlands (0.8 mn tonnes or 8%) and Poland (0.7 mn tonnes or 7%) were the main producers of cheese.

Germany, Spain and France the largest producers of pig meat in the EU27

In 2010, 22.0 mn tonnes of pig meat, 12.2 mn tonnes of poultry meat and 7.9 mn tonnes of cattle meat were produced in the EU27.

For pig meat, Germany (5.4 mn tonnes or 25% of the EU27 total), Spain (3.4 mn tonnes or 15%), France (2.0 mn tonnes or 9%), Poland and Denmark (both 1.7 mn tonnes or 8%) and Italy (1.6 mn tonnes or 7%) were the largest producers.

France (1.7 mn tonnes or 14% of the EU27 total), the United Kingdom (1.6 mn tonnes or 13%), Germany (1.4 mn tonnes or 11%), Spain and Poland (both 1.3 mn tonnes or 11%) were the largest producers of poultry meat.

For cattle meat, France (1.5 mn tonnes or 19% of the EU27 total), Germany (1.2 mn or 15%), Italy (1.1 mn or 14%) and the United Kingdom (0.9 mn tonnes or 12%) were the largest producers.

Common Agricultural Policy, what future ?

Mardi 8 novembre 2011

The European Commission proposed a legislative package for the CAP October 12, 2011. The Council was therefore able to begin negotiations yesterday.

The proposed solutions will have key significance for the effective use of the potential of agriculture and rural areas in the EU and will have a financial impact on farmers in the respective sectors of production throughout the Union.

Taking part in the political debate will be Polish Agriculture Minister, Marek Sawicki, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, Chairman of the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Paolo de Castro, members of the Committee and EU agriculture ministers.

The next debate on the CAP beyond 2013 will bring together representatives of agricultural organisations and NGOs in Brussels on 23rd November. The last of the three topical meetings, with the participation of agricultural economists and members of the scientific community, has been set for 7thDecember.

The Polish Presidency wants to sum up the three debates at the December meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, also in Brussels.

The EU and Uganda to strengthen cooperation

Lundi 7 novembre 2011

European subsidies destined for Uganda are to strengthen the infrastructure and rural development.

Uganda receives support from the European Commission in two main areas: transport/infrastructure and rural development. Under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), Uganda will benefit from total EU funding of €439 million between 2008 and 2013; mainly in these sectors. The programming also foresees a general budget support programme (so-called MDG contract) as well as activities in non-focal areas, such as democratic governance and civil society. Uganda received EDF funding of €80.8 million in 2010.

The European Commission also finances projects in the areas of environment, civil society, human rights and democracy, health, food security and peace and stability, through the general budget of the European Union.

Examples of EU projects

The Sawlog Production Grant Scheme II Project (EU funding €10 million plus €6 million from the government of Norway)

The European Union is strengthening the rural economy and creating jobs in Uganda by supporting commercial tree planting in the private sector. Commercial growing of good quality timber will help the country address its shortage in supply of timber and reduce the logging of natural forests. In addition to producing timber and poles, the plantations also generate fuel wood material. Since 92% of the energy supply in Uganda currently comes from biomass, this further reduces logging of natural forests.

This four year project (2009-2013) is a continuation from an earlier phase (2004-2009). Some key results:

- So far, over 25,000 hectares of commercial tree plantations have been established, by 250 individuals and companies.

- 110 people are trained every year on skills that are essential to the business: contract management, fire protection, plantation maintenance, plantation resource planning and establishment, among others.

- Quality seedlings and skills training to ensure quality plantations have been provided in 160 small communities.

Beyond this, the programme has helped to establish a professional resource base for key areas such as nursery operations, seed importation, new species (clones) trials, timber quality research and pest and disease monitoring and control.

Collaboration with institutions and partners from the local, regional and international arena has been established to build the commercial forestry sector in Uganda.

The project is also helping to strengthen the Uganda Timber Growers’ Association as a lobby, advocacy and trade organization.

Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Programme (NUREP) (€20 million) and Post Floods Rehabilitation of Rural Roads and Social Infrastructure in Northern Uganda (Post Floods) (€5 million)

After decades of war and insecurity in Northern Uganda, the two large projects NUREP and Post Floods have helped the people in Northern Uganda to respond to conflict and post-conflict situations while protecting and improving their livelihoods. These EU projects (2006-2010) were fully integrated in the efforts of the Ugandan government to help build peace and socio-economic recovery in the region.

Together, NUREP and Post Floods rehabilitated or constructed 155 classrooms, 17 secondary schools, 375 latrines, 23 health centres, 67 staff houses, 11 local government offices, 235 boreholes, 15 dams and windmills, 295 km feeder roads, 7 police posts, 618 km of community access roads, 84 acres of woodlots, 5 protected springs, 3 fishponds, 3 cattle crushes and 4 markets.

Thanks to the improved security situation in Uganda, and to the concerted efforts of the Government of Uganda and development projects such as NUREP and Post Floods, the percentage of people living in poverty and extreme poverty declined from 2004 to 2008 by 5-10% in the different northern districts. The number of internally displaced people in Northern Uganda fell from 1.84 million in 2005 to 73,000 in March 2011.

NUREP focused on five areas:

- providing the tools to support conflict resolution and peace-building

- supporting human rights and the rule of law

- supporting internally displaced people in finding coping mechanisms

- increasing and diversifying livelihood opportunities for local people

- Supporting local governments in providing basic services.

NUREP also helped in peace-building. It supported the psychosocial rehabilitation of trauma-affected ex-combatants and victims and assisted in the mediation of land-related conflicts for returnees. Furthermore, it contributed to dialogue between the army, “warrior” youth of different tribes and the communities affected by cattle theft.

The Post Floods programme was set up to re-establish people’s access to road and basic social infrastructure in the areas of Northern Uganda affected by the 2007 floods, by rehabilitating priority rural roads and bridges, health, education and water and sanitation infrastructure. Post Floods will also contribute to the improvement of all-weather viability in Northern Uganda through the reconstruction of Aswa bridge, which remains operational during periodic flooding.

The EU is on tracks regarding the legislation on GMOs

Vendredi 28 octobre 2011

The EU wants strict legislation in terms of GMOs in the production and consumption in Europe.

Two independent reports evaluating the European Union’s legislation on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) conclude that there is broad support for the legislation’s objectives and show that recent legislative Commission initiatives are heading in the right direction.

The documents, published today, also note that some adjustments are necessary if we are to meet the objectives of the legislation -the protection of health and the environment and the creation of an internal market- and to ensure that the legislation is properly implemented.

The reports

The two reports were carried out by independent consultants on the Commission’s behalf1. The first, a 238-page document, evaluates the EU’s legislative framework in the field of GM food and feed. The second, a 137-page document, focuses on the legislative framework in the area of GMOs cultivation. The main goal of the exercise was to collect facts and opinions, particularly from stakeholders and competent authorities. The evaluations assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the legislative processes and formulated options for the improvement and adjustment of the system.

The Commission, after the completion of both documents, carried out the necessary internal policy analysis on their findings. This process has just been completed, thus the Commission proceeds today with their publication.

The main findings

The two reports register broad support, from stakeholders and competent authorities alike, for the main objectives of the legislation, such as the protection of health and the environment and the creation of an internal market, as these objectives are consistent with the needs of society. Nevertheless, there’s room for further improvement, according to the reports.

For instance, the reports note that the authorisation system could be more efficient, GMO cultivation would benefit from more flexibility and the risk assessment process from further harmonisation.. Good news is that only limited changes to address specific issues are sufficient rather than an overall change to the system.

On the right track – already delivered

The evaluation reports confirm that many actions the European Commission has launched in recent months are on the right track.

First, the Commission’s package on GMO cultivation adopted in July 2010, and responding to the need for more flexibility on GMO cultivation, is identified as one such action. The package includes a recommendation on the co-existence of GM and non-GM plants that allows more flexibility to Member States to take into account their local, regional and national conditions when preparing their relevant legislation. The key proposal, currently under discussion in the Council and Parliament, is allowing Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.

The more flexible approach on GM cultivation preserves the strict EU-wide authorisation system already in place, which is based on science, safety and consumer choice, the relevant report notes adding that the system could be made more efficient.

Second, the Commission also advanced on tackling the technical problem of low level presence (LLP) of unauthorised GMOs in imported feed products. A harmonising regulation addressing LLP in feed imports entered into force in July and was well-received by Member States and business operators

Third, the Commission published in April 2011 a report on socio-economic implications of GM crops, based on contributions from the Member States as requested by the 2008 Environment Council Conclusions. The Commission followed up by launching on 18 October 2011 a process to assist Member States in the collection and sharing of information

In the pipeline

In addition, the Commission will propose in the coming weeks more precise requirements for the submission of authorisation applications for imported products for food and feed use.

It is also revising the guidelines on environmental risk assessment to make them more detailed and precise and is already discussing them with Member States and stakeholders. The final document will have legal status and be endorsed by Member States. This is an important step towards a better implementation of the strict environmental risk assessment requirements of the GMO legislation.

Another priority aspect is the reinforcement of the monitoring of environmental effects by companies and by Member States. EFSA and Member States’ experts are closely collaborating with the Commission to have more detailed guidelines.

The European Parliament is in favour of a growth-oriented budget for 2012

Vendredi 28 octobre 2011

Growth, employment, innovation and development support are the key terms of the new EU budget for 2012, such as opted by the European Parliament.

In general, MEPs sought to restore the draft budget proposed by the Commission, which the Council cut in July. Parliament’s position implies an increase in payments of 5.2% as compared to this year’s budget, resulting in a budget of €133.1 billion. The budget resolution was adopted with 431 votes in favour, 120 against and 124 abstentions.

A 21-day conciliation period starts in November, with meetings foreseen on 8 and 18 November. Furthermore, there are budget trilogues foreseen on 3, 10 and 14 November. If Parliament and Council can agree, the final budget could be approved at the December session in Brussels.

Investments in R&D, cohesion and structural funds on track

The spending categories that see the biggest increases in payments are Research and Development (10.35%) and Cohesion and Structural funds (8.8%). This is because these policies in fact consist of long-term investment projects which now, in the fifth year of the current multiannual financial framework (MFF), are up to full speed and for which money committed earlier now needs to be paid out.

Another category that sees a significant increase is Freedom, Security and Justice (6.84%), due to growing needs to manage refugee and migration flows and step up maritime surveillance in the Mediterranean.

By contrast, in category 1A, “Competitiveness for growth and employment” and category 4, “the EU as a global player”, Parliament wants to spend only slightly more than the Commission originally proposed.

Several MEPs criticised the Council for inconsistencies in its position on the Commission’s Draft Budget. The budgets for the new European financial supervision bodies and Frontex are deemed insufficient for them to function properly, whereas their work is considered a top priority.

Research, innovation and education (heading 1A)

Francesca Balzani (S&D, IT), who is steering the budget through Parliament, stressed that investments are needed to secure future growth and employment. Parliament followed her proposals to increase spending on programmes related to the EU2020 strategy

Parliament does not agree to funding the EU’s nuclear fusion programme ITER with money allocated for R&D under the 7th Research and Development Framework Programme, as the Commission and Council propose. As the idea for this mega-project was mooted during the current MFF period, MEPs feel it should be financed with fresh money, and not by funding taken from other research projects.

Cohesion policy (heading 1B)

On the policy for greater cohesion between the EU’s regions, MEPs restored the Commission’s draft budget proposal, which Member States had sought to cut.

Agriculture and environment (heading 2)

Parliament agreed to add €250 million to emergency funds for fruit and vegetable producers. This money is meant to prevent future crises like the EHEC-bacteria outbreak earlier this year and to compensate farmers for the financial consequences of further crises.

MEPs strongly defended the EU’s “food-for-the-needy” scheme, which provides food to food banks, for which Council is blocking a new legal basis.

Freedom, security, justice and citizenship (headings 3a and 3b)

Parliament disagreed with cuts proposed by the Council on the EU Refugee Fund, Return Fund and External Border Fund (€45 million). The budget for the EU border agency Frontex should be increased by a reserve of €25 million, they said, because this money might be needed for maritime border controls in the Mediterranean and for stepping up surveillance at the Greek-Turkish border. Just last month extra money was added to the 2011 budget for these purposes and MEPs feel that matters may not improve by the end of the year.

Foreign affairs (heading 4)

MEPs approved an increase of €100 million in aid to Palestine, the Middle East Peace process and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). They also approved €27 million for the development co-operation instrument for Asia and Latin America, and added €3 million for election observation missions and €3 million for the Turkish-Cypriot Community. To fund this, MEPs cut other lines, such as the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan and the line for emergency measures under the common foreign and security policy (CFSP).

Administration (heading 5)

The rapporteur for the EP budget and those of the other institutions, Mr José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) proposed further cuts to Parliament’s budget. Parliament opted for a below-inflation increase of 1.44%, while doing significantly more with the money. The proposal now includes the accommodation of 18 extra MEPs as a result of the Lisbon Treaty. If these costs were excluded, the increase would amount to only 0.8%. To bring expenses down, MEPs intend to save money on translation and interpretation, by making organisational changes, and voted for a 5% cut in travel expenses, for example by reducing the number of business flights. All allowances will be frozen at 2011 levels.

The EU regulates fishing in the Baltic Sea for 2012

Mercredi 26 octobre 2011

An agreement on fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea was found in 2012 between the States concerned.

The EU member states agreed on the maximum quantities of fish (total allowable catches) and allocations to member states (quotas) from certain fish stocks that can be caught in the Baltic Sea in 2012. They also defined fishing effort limits for Baltic cod stocks for the same period.

According to the agreement reached, in 2012 the total allowable catches (TACs) for eastern and western Baltic cod will be increased by 15% and 13% respectively, because the long-term management plan for this species (implemented since 2008) has helped to bring it back to sustainable levels and the stocks have recovered .

The TACs for herring will be increased by 2% for the Gulf of Bothnia. However, according to the available scientific data, the stocks in the remaining part of the Eastern Baltic and in the Gulf of Riga have not yet sufficiently recovered. The TACs for these areas will therefore be reduced (compared with last year’s quotas) by 27% and 16% respectively.

The situation of the Baltic salmon stock in this region, according to scientific data, requires immediate action, and the member states agreed that the TAC in the main basin be reduced by 51% compared with last year’s quotas and remain the same as last year for the Gulf of Finland stock. Some member states thought the initially proposed reduction was excessive and did not take into account fishing in inland waters.

The TAC for sprat will be reduced by 22%, to 225.237 tonnes.

The member states did not agree with the proposed precautionary reduction of TACs for plaice stock by 25% on the grounds that there is no sufficient scientific data to identify the proper catch level. It has been agreed instead to reduce the TAC by 5% until more accurate scientific data is available, in order to avoid the negative impact on the interests of the fishermen.

These fisheries should be open on 1 January 2012.

CAP post 2013: The Commission proposes to keep the same goals but with different methods

Mardi 25 octobre 2011

The Commission has proposed reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy to be applied from the 1st January 2014. These reforms will be negotiated within the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament first.

The key objectives of the CAP would remain the same: it should provide a basic income for farmers; supply safe and healthy food to consumers at reasonable prices; contribute to protect the environment and combat climate change; and address rural development.

New elements to be discussed by ministers are the proposals to reserve payments for active farmers; to reduce direct aid to the biggest farms in order to ensure a fairer distribution of money; and to make payments subject to the respect of environmental requirements, such as crop rotation, set-aside and animal welfare, the so-called greening.

Existing market management tools would be preserved, simplified and extended in order to respond appropriately to crises caused by price volatility or sanitary crises, for example the recent E. coli outbreak.

Globalisation makes it necessary for European agriculture to adapt. In order for farming to become more competitive on global markets, the Commission proposes to link the CAP to the EU’s strategy for growth and jobs, with focus on training, innovation and research. Rural areas should be developed to maintain employment, for instance through creation of infrastructure such as roads and broadband networks in remote areas. The proposed reform package provides that young farmers starting business should receive more aid, as well as farmers in less favoured areas.

Six of the seven proposals will be co-decided by the ordinary legislative procedure between the Council and the European Parliament. The new rules should enter into force on 1 January 2014.

The EU schoolchildren eat healthy?

Lundi 24 octobre 2011

Discover the special report of the European Court of Auditors No. 10/2011 investigating the effectiveness of programs, “School milk” and “School Fruit.”

The European Union’s School Milk Scheme (SMS) and School Fruit Scheme (SFS) aim to encourage children to eat healthily by consuming dairy products and fruit and vegetables, and to contribute to improving the market for these products. The SMS has made grants available to Member States since 1977 for the sale of reduced rate milk products to school children, while free distribution under the SFS has started much more recently in the 2009/2010 school year. The EU now earmarks an annual budget of € 180 million for those two schemes.

This European Court of Auditors’ (ECA) performance audit assessed the effectiveness of the two schemes, notably assessing whether the EU subsidies have a direct impact on the beneficiaries’ consumption and if the schemes are likely to meet their educational objectives and influence future eating habits.

The audit concluded that

- the Milk Scheme is largely ineffective and has very little impact, as

- It is affected by very significant deadweight, i.e. the subsidised products, in most cases, would have been included in canteen meals or bought by the beneficiaries without the subsidy. This effect is enhanced by the lack of a mechanism for targeting priority needs.

- The stated educational goals are insufficiently taken into account in the design and implementation of the scheme.

- Although it is too early to conclude on the effectiveness of the School Fruit Scheme, its design gives it a better chance to achieve its objectives. Some solutions employed for the Fruit Scheme could be considered as possible ways to improve the effectiveness of the Milk Scheme.

The ECA makes a series of recommendations, especially for the SMS. If this scheme is to be continued, thorough reforms will be needed to remedy the weaknesses identified. The model of distribution outside canteens and free of charge should be considered, targeting a population to be determined in relation to actual nutritional needs. The role and importance of the accompanying educational measures should be assessed. There should also be greater coordination and synergy between the two schemes to ensure that they have a harmonised approach to nutrition and are managed efficiently.