Abimbola Adesanmi, the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, has disclosed that the Federal Government is targeting 12 million school children from primary one to three across Nigeria.
Mrs Adesanmi disclosed this on Thursday during a stakeholders’ orientation meeting in Ilorin.
According to her, government is currently feeding about 8.6 million pupils across 56,000 public schools in the country.
“We are currently feeding 8.6 million children. We have 56,000 public primary schools in 35 states across Nigeria, and have 107,000 cooks who have been empowered through the scheme.
“The programme is designed to increase enrollment rate, provide sustainable income for small holder farmers, and stimulate growth and productivity around the community,” she said.
Mrs Adesanmi added that over 200,000 small holder farmers have been engaged to supply food stuff for the programme.
While reiterating the objectives of the school feeding programme model, the SSA said the programme was aimed to increase resilience, promote equity, stimulate growth and poverty reduction.
“To achieve this, the four cardinal programmes have been incorporated in the national cash transfer to beneficiaries’ households and build capacity for sustainable livelihood of the future leaders,” she said.
Mrs Adesanmi said the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme was designed to provide hot nutritious balanced meal to pupils of public primary schools across the country.
She commended Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara for doing all the needful to ensure the successful takeoff of the programme in the state.
Declaring the meeting open, Mr AbdulRazaq said his administration has committed N250 million to the school feeding programme to complement the Federal Government for the period of five years.
He said this was in continuation of the frantic efforts to prevent malnutrition and increase enrollment in schools, has necessitated the Kwara government to begin plans to fully commence National Home Grown School Feeding Programme in the state.
He said the state government would be feeding pupils from primary four to six while Federal Government takes care of primary one to three, noting that the school feeding programme will go a long way in increasing the enrolment in schools.
“As we persuade our mothers to prioritise exclusive breast feeding, my administration feels that the school feeding programme will tackle the menace of malnutrition while also strengthening the economy.
“We believe that no amount is too much to spend for the future of our children,” he said.
Mr AbdulRazaq called on members of the implementation committee, local government councils and other stakeholders to work towards the full implementation and sustainability of the programme.
The governor therefore commended the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs for ensuring that Kwara starts the programme this year.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Focal Person, Bashirat Abdulrazaq, said the programme was carefully designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable Nigerians including children, women and young youth.
The programme team leader, Ilori Olusanjo-Victor, thanked the governor for his kind approval of the programme in the state and for the enactment of the law in the state House of Assembly on social investment.