The National Home-grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) has increased its beneficiaries from 5.5 million in 2017 to 8,260,984 pupils in 45,394 public primary schools across 24 states.

This is contained in a press release issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant(SSA)  to the Vice President on Media and Publicity.

NHGSFP is a part of the  Social Investment Programme which offers free feeding to primary one to primary three pupils in public schools.

Akande said  the 24 states currently benefitting from the school feeding programme are  Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Gombe, Ondo and Borno.

According to him, over 80,000 direct jobs have since been created from the School Feeding Programme  with 87,261 cooks currently engaged in the 24 participating states.

He said  that all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT would eventually benefit from the programme with the attendant  educational, economic and health benefits.

“Not only has the Buhari administration’s School Feeding Programme created jobs for thousands of Nigerians in these communities where the programme is being implemented, it has also helped to boost local economies,’’ he stated.

The SSA said the programme boosted the local economies by linking the local farmers to the school feeding market, adding that the scheme had led to an increase in school enrolment.

“Another important aspect of the School Feeding Programme is that by providing a meal a day for millions of pupils, it addresses the issues of malnutrition and stunting among children.

“It thus increases the chances of the pupils making a significant headway in their learning and in life,’’ he said.

Akande said  plans were at an advanced stage to implement the NHGSFP in 28 states in the coming months and all over the country soon after.