The Federal Government has announced plans to upscale its National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), by enrolling additional 5 million pupils under the scheme.
This plan was announced by the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouk during a working visit to the Niger State Government today.
The Minister who was represented by Mr Hezekiah Sunday, Assistant Director in the Ministry, said the team was in the state to enumerate beneficiaries and scale up the school feeding programme.
She noted that over 9 million pupils were currently benefitting from one free nutritious meal nationwide and the ministry had been mandated to reach an additional 5 million pupils by 2023. She further added that the school feeding programme had employed over 100,000 cooks and more than 100,000 smallholder farmers who are participating in the value chain.
Responding to the laudable initiative, the Governor of Niger State ably represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matane, gave assurance that the state government would continue to give the necessary support for the successes of the programme.
He lauded the ministry for its continuous partnership and support to the state through the provision of relief materials to internally displaced persons and flood victims. Matane also called on the ministry to extend the school feeding programme to primary four to six pupils in order to motivate children to come to school and stay.
Driving home his point, Matane said: “Feeding some pupils and leaving others out can create demotivation and create issues among the pupils, let the programme be redesigned in a way that every primary pupil will be part of it.”
In addition, the focal person on NHGSFP, Hajiya Amina Gu’ar, disclosed that about 2,087 schools in the state were currently participating in the school feeding out of 3,038 schools. She said the team was to evaluate the programme and see how to address the issue of schools not captured in the scheme.
The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) is a government-led N70 per day school feeding programme that aims to improve the health and educational outcomes of public primary school pupils. It uses farm produce locally grown by smallholder farmers to provide children nutritious mid-day meals on every school day. The programme links local farmers to the education sector by facilitating their access to the school feeding market.