The Paraguayan Banana and Pineapple Chamber (Capabap) filed a complaint with the National Directorate of Public Procurement (DNCP) against the Central Government, administered by Hugo Javier Gonzalez, for not including the banana as part of the food program for students.
The president of the chamber, Aldo Fanego, said that Gonzalez refuses to buy the banana as part of the school lunch because the Central department does not produce this fruit. However, he said, the Paraguayan Banana and Pineapple Chamber has been the main supplier of food for educational institutions in the country since 2019.
“The governor of Central asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock if the department of Central produced large quantities of bananas to market. The Ministry said they didn't, but they also told him that the largest producers of the fruit were in the departments of San Pedro, Cordillera, and Caaguazu. In addition, they also informed him that the MAG has been working jointly with the National Banana Program, the National Intersectoral Table for Banana Competitiveness (Medicob), and banana producers, who have enough banana production to cover the required quantity,” Fanego stated.
The president of Capabap also highlighted that Law No. 6277/2019 on School Food and Sanitary Control, which states that the banana must be included in the students' food program, is still in force.
This regulation expands articles 2 and 10 of Law 5210/2014 'On school feeding and sanitary control'. Article 2° says that "complementing school meals will include at least two bananas of national production at least three days a week, according to availability." Furthermore, Article 10°, subsection f, indicates that "the acquisition of food from family agriculture and especially from national banana production should be prioritized through summary procedures that guarantee the purchase of its members." The regulations indicate that these procedures will be applied as an exception to the provisions of laws 2051/03 “On Public Procurement” and 1535/99 “On Financial Administration of the State”.
Call for tenders
The Central Government called the tender for the "Acquisition of school meals for public educational institutions of the Central department multi-year (2021 and 2022)". They have a budget of G. 165,000 million for this purpose and are requesting sweet cookies, bread, coquito, chipa, sweet cookie, with sesame seeds, and whole milk. The opening of bid envelopes is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 17, according to the tender published on the DNCP's electronic portal.