By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Some stakeholders in the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) on Thursday, in Abuja praised the Federal Government for effective implementation and expansion of NHSGFP to achieve its desired objectives.
They made the commendation at a two-day training on “Optimising school meal menus”, using SMP Plus (Plus School Menus Tool) for states focal persons and managers from the six geopolitical zones.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
They, however, observed that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, through its National Social Investments Programme (NSIP), had encouraged many children to enroll into school.
Mrs Mary Yuwadi, Adamawa Focal Person North East, said that the school feeding programme had increased enrollment in the state as the children received their breakfast daily.
Yuwadi said that those children, who had dropped out of school, were back to school because they were encouraged by the meal given in the school.
“Apart from that, the meal is very nutritious because we give them balanced diet and that has increased their nutrition.
“So, we want the government to continue with the school feeding Programme and also appeal that some of the schools that are not included in the Programme should be added,” she said.
Similarly, Mr Baba Zubair, Programme Manager, NSIP, Kano said that the school feeding helped a lot in enrolment of pupils into primary school.
“Also, the economic benefits are so much that every part of our economy benefits from it because whenever there is school feeding the farmers will produce.
“The problem we are facing is that most good programmes like this do not continue once another government comes.
“It will strike it down but something like this should be sustained because the results are there.
“In Kano we have the largest number of school pupils that are benefiting from this, currently we are feeding over 1.2 million children between primary one and three,” Zubair said.
Mr Ifeanyi Onah, Enugu State Programme Manager, NHGSFP said that one of the challenges was the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, saying that afterwards there was hike in the prices of food items.
“That made it difficult for cooks to access food at the normal price they were getting it before,’’ he said.
Onah, however, said that apart from some of the challenges, the programme was really touching many lives positively in the state.
In his remarks, Kim Do-Hwan, Acting Head, World Food Programme, Capacity Strengthening and Policy Coherence Unit, said that feeding children with nutritious meal would enhance their growth and productiveness.
Do-Hwan said that the training would help to improve National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme nationwide.
“So, we at the WFP are here to help the government of Nigeria better achieve its objectives to the school feeding Programme.
“And, one of the ways is improving the nutritious contents of the Menus, developing them in a way that is more cost effective and tailored toward a good context.
“So that it can also spurs local economic development,” he said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)