MORE than 49'000 students in 177 schools in the Balearic Islands are to be given weekly rations of fresh fruit and orange juice in a pilot scheme lasting three weeks, the regional ministry for the President's Office confirmed yesterday.

The so-called “Plan for the Consumption of Fresh Fruit in Schools” is being co-financed to the tune of nearly 122'000 euros by the Balearic government and the European Union and forms part of an EU plan to promote healthy eating.

The scheme was presented yesterday for the first time in Ibiza where 7'000 pupils from 27 schools will be benefiting. A public company, Agricultural Improvement Services will be undertaking the provision of the fruit.

Rural Development Director Antoni Perello explained that the plan is not only to nurture healthy eating habits amongst the young to stave off the likelihood of childhood obesity, it is also to raise awareness about the availability of seasonal products in the Balearic Islands.

Apart from the fruit, each pupil will receive a place-mat with the logo “Local Product” on it so that both students and their families become familiar with fresh produce.

This is the first year, said Perello, that the fresh fruit programme is being introduced on all the Balearic Islands. It apparently had a trial run on Majorca last year. The ministry for the President's Office said that during 2010, 11'124 kilos of fruit were distributed (3'112 of kiwi fruit, 4'025 kilos of applies, 2'203 of strawberries and 1'784 kilos of water melon) and 12'160 litres of juice.

Workshops were also held in schools so that pupils could learn to identify fresh fruit and vegetables through the senses.


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