[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]
Federal Government has announced plans to increase the number of schools benefiting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, nationwide.
Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this after a closed-door meeting with the Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Thursday in Enugu.
Represented by Mrs Nkechi Onwukwe, Director of Special Needs in the Ministry, Umar-Farouq, said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the inclusion of five million pupils into the school feeding programme across the country.
She said about nine million pupils were currently benefitting from the programme in basic (primary) schools across the country.
She said the pupils from primary one to three were receiving one free nutritious meal a day during school term nationwide since 2016.
According to her, National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) is one of the components of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) meant to drive school enrollment, boost nutrition of the pupils, support local production of food, encourage employment and income generation.
She said, “This time around President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously approved additional inclusion of five million pupils to be integrated into the ongoing NHGSFP programme. This means there is an upgrade.
“For the up-grade to happen, we need to carry out enumeration in all the states that are participating in the programme to know how: many children are being fed; how many cooks have been employed, and whether there are challenges, gaps and issues that need to be resolved.
“So that will help us to see the progress so far made in the school feeding programme being sponsored by the Federal Government,’’ she said.
She said the ministry was interested in getting the actual enumeration of pupils, cooks and challenges, gaps and issues that needed to be resolved before the upgrade the number of pupils/schools would take place in Enugu State.
She disclosed that 799 primary schools in the state enrolled in the programme with different variations of the number of pupils from primary one to three in each school.
“We learnt that the total basic school we have Enugu state is 1,200, of which after the enumeration, we might get to upgrade them.
“So, after the enumeration we will see how the remaining about 400 schools might be added so that each school in the state might be enrolled into the programme,’’ she explained.