The Federal Government has flagged off the distribution of utensils under the National Home Grown School Programme in the North Central Zone.
An estimated 15,750 pieces of food utensils, including stainless plates, cutlery sets and aprons were handed over Tuesday to the FCT by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs,Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq in Abuja.
The minister lauded the enormous impact of the school feeding initiative of the Buhari administration which she described as commendable.
“I am happy to report that we have so far, recorded feeding nearly 10 million pupils, and engaged over One Hundred Thousand Cooks. Also massive employment opportunities are being created within the school feeding ecosystem in sectors of transportation, agriculture, energy supply and food materials packaging,” said the minister.
The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme being one of the Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari Administration is in fulfilment of ensuring that school pupils have the best experience of integrity, hygiene and safety during consumption of the free meals provided by the federal government.
It is targeted at increasing enrollment of children in schools, boost their nutrition and encourage entrepreneurship, enhance agricultural production and generate millions of rural jobs in the country is a collaboration between the Federal and the State Governments.
Umar Farouq said that the government is totally committed to the initiative which has prompted a nationwide resumption after the Covid-19 pandemic break.
She explained that the Federal Government is responsible for funding, policy and guidelines formulations as well as conduct of close monitoring, while the States carry out the day-to-day implementation including procurement of food items, selection of cooks and vendors who would prepare, cook and serve the meals to the pupils.
She disclosed that the Federal Government adopted the social protection mechanisms to tackle the social and economic challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Part of these was the deployment of take-home rations initiative to Lagos, FCT and Ogun states, where over 127,000 households of pupils on the program were targeted to receive a food basket comprising of uncooked materials including rice, beans, palm oil, eggs, etc.
“This was specifically selected for the nutritional benefits of the children. We recorded tremendous success in this intervention that brought succor to the lives of many Nigerians who are at the bottom of the pyramid”, Umar Farouq said.
The Minister expresses optimism that the school feeding program will help to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years as envisioned by the Buhari administration.
As at the last count, 9,196,823 pulpils had been captured nationwide across 54,619 schools with 100,000 farmers and 103,028 cooks actively employed.
Umar Farouq promised that the ministry will continue to roll our policies and strategies capable of strengthening, sustaining and scaling up the program as well as all the other social investment programs under its stable.
The focal person representing the FCT, Mrs. Chinwendu Eteyen Amba thanked the Federal Government for the school feeding program initiative.
“We thank the Minister and the Federal government for what you’re doing in the FCT using the Social Investment Programmes. We hope that you will continue to enjoy the robust relationship you have with the FCT,”she said.
The Minister and other senior officials of the ministry and the FCT inspected the school feeding session in the LEA Primary School, Jabi to ascertain the quantity and quality of the food given to the children.