School feeding programme, panacea for increased nutrition – Official
Mr Gab Okulaja, says the school feeding scheme is an opportunity for pupils in public schools to be fortified with better nutrition and access to education.
Okulaja, the Cross River Coordinator of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Tuesday.
He said the initiative also created opportunities in the areas of agricultural production, integration of farmers and increased access to finance for cooks.
He said Cross River had been a beneficiary of the programme since October 2017 when the feeding of pupils in classes one to three commenced in the state.
According to him, there is no discrimination in choice of schools as all schools in the state, no matter the location are part of our scope.
“Currently we have remote and hard-to-reach locations in our programme.
“The programme is ongoing and as more schools are brought in, our data base is updated and this accounts for why we commenced with about 117,000 pupils in 2017 and currently above 300,000 pupils now.
“All schools cannot commence the same time as you know it is normal in programmes and projects, you commence and scale up, so, it is ongoing.
“In the area of feeding quality, we provide continuous monitoring and encourage third party monitoring.
“We are also open to information that will encourage disciplinary measures as we continuously request our vendors to maintain standards,’’ Okulaja said.
On the household feeding as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, he said Cross River and other states of the federation were part of the programme.
He added that for now, Hajiya Saidiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development had said at a news briefing that pilot schemes were being undertaken in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Lagos and Ogun, prior to a full roll out in other states.
Okulaja, however, noted that some of the challenges of the programme in the state included, logistics, food prices, expectations of people from the programme, fake news, fraudsters and the need to upscale the programme to accommodate primary classes four to six.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government said the HGSFP for primary school pupils would resume on May 14, in Abuja and subsequently in Lagos, Ogun and other states.
Source – NAN