Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The federal government has disclosed that about 56,000 public schools in 35 states have benefited from its National Home Grown School Feeding Programme since its commencement in 2015.
The Special Adviser to the President on the National Home Grown School Feeding programme, Mrs. Abimbola Adesanmi stated this in Ilorin, Kwars State at a two-day stakeholders’ workshop on the commencement of the feeding programme in the state.
“With this revelation, Kwara State has become the 35th state in Nigeria to join the scheme,” she said.
The presidential aide, who stated that over 8.6 million people are enjoying the programme, added that more than 107,000 cooks and over 200,000 small holder farmers are taking part in the programme.
She added that the federal government would cater for feeding of pupils in primary 1, 2 and 3, while the state government would feed those in primary 4, 5 and 6 in the programme.
“The programme is designed to improve enrolment rate by mopping out of school children from streets. It provides jobs for cooks and sustainable income for farmers who key into the scheme.
“The reason we are here is for our leaders of tomorrow; by providing them with one hot meal of balanced diet and ensure they are in school.
“The programme will also provide opportunities of increased income level for farmers and cooks who engage in the programme and those who supply all other products. The increased income level and education would lead to increase in development of human capital,” she said.
Also speaking, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq said the school feeding programme would go a long way to tackle menace of malnutrition while also strengthening the local economy.
The governor, who said 33 per cent of children in the state were stunted, while another seven per cent were adjudged as wasted as at May last year, described the scenario as scary, adding that the development must be addressed immediately.
“I am very passionate about school feeding for our children. This is because the socio-economic cost of not urgently acting against malnutrition and dwindling school enrolment far outweighs whatever financial commitments we will be making to the programme.
“So, as we persuade our mothers to prioritise exclusive breastfeeding, our administration feels that school feeding will go a long way to tackle the menace of malnutrition while also strengthening the local economy.
“This meeting marks the beginning of great things to expect from this administration, particularly in the area of human capital development and safety nets for the weak and the poor.
“This meeting has been called to get all the stakeholders on the same page ahead of implementation of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Kwara State.”