School feeding programme addresses malnutrition in pupils – Minister

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farooq, says the national school feeding programme will address the problem of malnutrition in Nigerian pupils.

Millions of Nigerian students are beneficiaries of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme [NHGSFP]

The minister disclosed this on Thursday in Ilorin during a courtesy visit with her team to Gov. AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman of Kwara.

The minister, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment Programme (SAPNSIP), Dr Nasiru Mahmud, said that they were in the state to assess status of preparedness of the state towards the implementation of National School Feeding Programme.

She said that one of the objectives of the programme was to address the problem of malnutrition among school pupils in Nigeria.

The minister said that research had shown that malnutrition amongst Nigeria children was high, assuring that the school feeding programme will address the problem.

She added that the programme would also boost local economy because the food would be bought from local farmers and local sellers, saying that it will create a long value chain.

Umar-Farooq said that the national ongoing school feeding programme was the fourth intervention to be implemented under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), saying that Kwara remains one of the two states in Nigeria yet to be enrolled into the programme.

“Our ministry is worried and came down to Kwara to assess the level of readiness and the necessary support needed to give the state for the programme to take-off.

“But when we arrived, we are happy about what we saw here and there, the state government is really ready for the programme.

“Over 1,500 public primary schools have been identified and over 96,000 pupils of primary one to three spread across the 16 local government areas of the state will benefit.

“The role of federal government is to provide money for the feeding and make sure the state complied with guidelines,” the minister said.

Hajia Bashirat Abdulrazaq, the state NSIP focal person, assured the team of the state government’s readiness for the programme.

She said over 1,947 cooks were on ground to benefit from the programme at the flag-off, adding that there will be revalidation as the programme goes on.

Abdulrazaq said the programme would boost the enrollment of pupils and reduce malnutrition among Nigeria children.

She noted that cooks employed were the parents of the school pupils, so as the parents benefit, the children benefit and poor farmers who are the fathers also benefit.

“So we target the poor, vulnerable people to eradicate poverty in Nigeria,” she said.

Responding, the governor commended the federal government for the programme.

AbdulRazaq, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Kayode Alabi, noted that the programme would reduce the number of out-of-school children in the society.

He added that the programme would help local farmers and create employment opportunities.

The governor assured the team of the state government’s support and cooperation.

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