The school feeding programme is set to receive a major boost following the signing of an agreement between the government of Ghana and an American company to improve the nutritional content of the food served pupils.
The company, Hershey Energizing Learning Nutrition Project, is expected to provide a highly fortified nutritional supplement to the food ration under the new agreement.
[contextly_sidebar id=”t1qrMPzccxdh2PIpXhbwIn5Sc8Zs4Xos”]According to the National Coordinator for the school feeding programme, Seidu Paakuna Adams, the programme is to target the Ashanti and Northern regions which have high malnutrition prevalence.
Seidu Paakuna Adams told Citi News, the new programme will benefit between 50,000 and 100,000 basic school pupils.
He indicated that the management of the company happened to meet with the President who urged them to try and relocate into the country to help fight the malnutrition status of Ghanaian children through the school feeding programme.
The company, he said is already undertaking a pilot project which has commenced in six schools; three in Ashanti Region and three in the Northern Region.
Mr. Adams pointed out that one of the main objectives of the school feeding programmes is to reduce hunger and malnutrition among children “and that is why we started in poor communities hoping that we will graduate and then expand to every primary school and if possible, to JHS’.”
In 2005, the government of Ghana in collaboration with the Dutch government started a school feeding programme known as the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP).
But since 2012, the managers of the programme have been struggling to effectively undertake its mandate with challenges ranging from low budgetary allocation, poor nutritional content of the food provided, the non-payment of salaries of the caterers, among others.
In December 2014, the Parliamentary committee on local government and rural development recommended that the Ministry of Finance must increase the budgetary allocation for the school feeding programme.
The budgetary allocation for the programme which stood at 50 pesewas per student per day was increased to 80 pesewas in the 2015 budget.
But the committee wanted the money to be increased to GHC 1.
There has since been assertions that the programme was collapsing but Mr. Adams however dismissed assertions that the school feeding programme has collapsed under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
“Contrary to rumours from other quarters that the school feeding programme is collapsing, it is not!” he said.
“If anything at all, government is doing as much as possible to maintain and expand to other schools that are still not benefiting from it,” Adams explained.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana