FAO and AMEXCID representatives visit the Las Lomas Government School. (Image courtesy FAO)

Food safety for the School Feeding in Trinidad and Tobago is in focus in a series of workshops geared at preparing those responsible for training persons in food safety. 

This week, 30 persons began participating in a “Train the Trainers” workshop on food safety for School Feeding in Trinidad and Tobago, which is being facilitated by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The initiative is spearheaded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

The virtual training sessions, which started on April 4th, are expected to continue twice weekly, and will cover 10 modules in eight sessions.

Some of the participants at the IICA/FAO ‘Train the Trainers’ workshop. (Image courtesy FAO)

During the training sessions, participants will cover topics such as the health and hygiene of workers; water and soil safety requirements; plant protection products; post-harvest handling and sanitation; farm record keeping; climate-smart practices; and adult learning.

The programme intends to meet some components of the Trinidad and Tobago Standard, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) – Fresh Produce Requirements. It will focus on the critical requirements for producing, harvesting, handling, and delivering safe and quality fresh produce to National School Feeding Programme (SFP) caterers.

According to the FAO, officials are interested in increasing the volume of fresh produce purchased from farmers but have identified many areas of concern that need to be addressed to ensure safe and quality food.

AMEXCID officials tour the Aquaculture Demonstration Centre in Bamboo, Valsayn. (Image courtesy FAO)

“FAO and CARICOM—with funding from the Government of Mexico working through the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID)—are working together to support the SFP. The initiative includes among its main components, facilitating the conditions for the promotion of food purchases from small local farmers and their organizations for the preparation of school meals,” a release from the FAO explains.

The other key partners in this training initiative are the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries (MALF); National School Dietary Services Limited (NSDSL); the Tobago House of Assembly’s Division of Education, Research and Technology, and Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development; and the Tobago Agribusiness Development Company (TADCO).