Saudi Arabia Donates Dates for Thousands of School Children in Nicaragua
MANAGUA – Thousands of children attending pre-school and primary school in Nicaragua are to receive dates in their school meals thanks to a contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Around 156,000 children will benefit from this second contribution of dates from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to WFP in Nicaragua in the past three years.
The KSA government is donating a total of 72 metric tons valued at US$167,000. The dates will complement the Nicaragua Ministry of Education’s Integral School Nutrition Programme for children in 12 municipalities of Jinotega and the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean (RANC).
WFP received the donation during a formal ceremony today and attended by two representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Saad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sunaidi, an official of the Ministry of Finance and Mohammad Alkadi, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Mexico. Miriam Ráudez Ministry of Education, Salvador Vanegas, Advisor to the President for Education issues, Mohamed Lasthar, Advisor to the President for International issues and Norma Ortiz, Director of PINE for School Meal Programme.
"This new contribution of dates from Saudi Arabia allows us to add a highly nutritious food to children’s school meals in Nicaragua," said WFP Deputy Representative, Marc Regnault de la Mothe. "It's a great gesture of solidarity by the Kingdom and the Saudi people to share with Nicaragua the benefit of these sweet fruits that have an ancient cultural, historical and religious value".
Dates, which are a palm fruit produced by Asia and North Africa, have high calorific content and provide energy. They also help reduce anemia because they are high in iron, thiamin and riboflavin. Rich in sugars and carbohydrates, dates help improve mental alertness, concentration and strength after physical activity.
Nicaragua was the first country in Latin America to introduce dates to children through the school meals programme. In 2013, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made its first contribution of 136 metric tons of dates worth US$266,000.
A campaign was initiated to promote dates and facilitate cultural acceptance of this new food. These fruits generated great interest among Nicaraguans who were eager to sample them.
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest producers of dates worldwide. After being harvested from the palm, the fruits are dried in the sun. One hundred grams of dates provide about 270 calories and contain the same nutritional value as a steak. Natural, eaten either ripe or dried, they are preserved in their own sugar and used to prepare sauces, pastries and cakes.
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
For more information, please contact:
Sabrina Quezada Ardila, WFP/Nicaragua. Tel 505 2278 4982, cel. 505 8930 2987