By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The Federal Government spends about N12 billion on the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programmes (NHGSFP) monthly under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (MHADMSD).
Dr Umar Bindir, National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) of the Ministry stated this on Monday.
Bindir disclosed this at a two-day stakeholders consultative workshop on the development of a national policy for NHGSFP in Abuja.
He underscored the need for the country to have a national policy on school feeding programme to ensure sustainability.
According to him, the school feeding programme is very expensive as over 10 million children are fed at the rate of N100 meal per child as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the programme was a continuation of deliberate strategies of the NSIP to institutionalise the clusters.
“Today we are focusing on the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP) to develop an inclusive policy for NHGSFP.
“This is to ensure that it is sustainable, measurable and highly impactful as directed by Mr President.
“As we speak we are feeding an average of 10 million children with the potential of that number increasing to 12 million probably in the next few weeks or months.
“Based on the impact of the programme – attracting children to school, ensuring the children are healthy, the children of the poor and vulnerable attending school longer it is necessary that the programme is sustained,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Mr Kim Do-Hwan, Head, Capacity Strengthening and Policy Coherence, UN World Food Program, said the objective of the workshop was to engage critical stakeholders, who would jointly identify and agree on key components of a national school feeding policy.
Do-Hwan said that the policy development process would take into account broad considerations that would benefit the NHGSFP as it was being implemented across the country.
He further said that the policy would serve as a foundation for the success and sustainability of the NHGSFP.
“It will remain as a guiding document that ensures continued investment from national and sub-national stakeholders beyond any singular political dispensation.
“The NHGSFP is a key pathway for the government of Nigeria to achieve one of its own objectives to advance progress towards the Sustainability Development Goal (SDG 2) on zero hunger.
“This aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.’’
He, therefore, assured UNWFP’s commitment to support the achievement of SDG 2 in the country through effective partnerships, knowledge sharing and capacity strengthening.
Also speaking, one of the participants, Dr Onallo Akpa, Director–General, Poultry Association of Nigeria, said that the essence of the programme was to ensure that the children have nutritious meal.
Akpa said that the school feeding programme encouraged academic and community development, hence the need for sustainability.
“We are here to discuss on how to develop a framework that will be compassing for the entire country in developing the school feeding programme.
“As poultry mangers the essence is to see how we can mobilise our members into supplying the needed quantity of eggs into the school feeding programme,’’ he said.(NAN)