Prospects for reforming the food system in Kherson schools using the experience of Lithuania


There is should be the shortest possible time from the announcement of a negative assessment to decisive actions aimed at ensuring radically qualitative changes. The principle of action of Kherson Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev regarding the situation with the provision of catering services in secondary schools and preschools in Kherson can be described just this way. A little more than a week have passed since the publication of his verdict on the unacceptable situation in this segment of the city economy, and already today, at the initiative of the Kherson mayor, Irmantas Norkus, the Chairman of the Board and the main shareholder of the leading Pontem companies group, arrived in Kherson from Lithuania.

The company has a positive experience of reform in the field of catering services, using modern technologies. It occupies a third of the Lithuanian market, where it has been operating since 1992, works effectively in Latvia and has experience in implementing radical changes and improving the quality of food services in educational and medical institutions of Ukraine (particularly in Kyiv). Among the clients of the Pontem companies group there are about 500 educational institutions in Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine, where the company's nutritionists have prepared and used several hundred menu options in compliance with European quality standards. The list ofcompany's clients includes the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuanian Radio and Television, Small Planet and Wizz air airlines, other airlines and private jets.

In addition to Kherson Mayor and Irmantas Norkus, Deputy Mayor of Kherson Svitlana Chepyha and Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Baltic-Black Sea Economic Forum Volodymyr Makukha took part in the working meeting, that took place on February 5.

During the meeting, the Kherson mayor stressed that the system of providing food services in Kherson schools and kindergartens should be radically changed for the better. In this situation we must start acting immediately because good nutrition is the health of children. A number of basic principles were discussed, including:

  • Food quality and variety of menus;
  • Optimization of catering, inadmissibility of funds misuse and unreasonable costs;
  • Providing electronic control over the process of feeding children, the possibility of online control and parents participation in the choice of menus;
  • Logistic optimization.

The organization of catering in Kherson educational institutions, and not only, must be organized in compliance with European quality standards and with the use of modern technologies. To this goal, it was decided, in the shortest possible time, to work out a road map and a step-by-step action plan with the expected results based on the results of each of them. In this regard, the experience of European friends and partners and their awareness of the practical situation in this area in Ukraine should provide the necessary result.

Following the meeting, Irmantas Norkus noted that the effectiveness of responding to such challenges largely depends on the will of the mayor, his willingness to take decisive action and the actual implementation of reform mechanisms. The fact that this problematic issue was put on the agenda by the mayor himself, the efficiency of the organization and holding of this workshop, its specificity allow us to look optimistically at the prospects of achieving this goal.
Additional optimistic expectations are related to the possibility of using the partnership foundation created on the sites of the Baltic-Black Sea Economic Forum. The site, that, in particular, is based on a strong partnership triangle: Klaipeda and Klaipeda district (Lithuania) - Kherson and Kherson region (Ukraine) - Gdynia and Pomeranian Voivodeship (Poland). This is the triangle, that was tentatively called "Gdynia Triangle " and can be considered an integral part of the "Lublin Triangle", the partnership initiated last year with the participation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.