The Presidency, on Wednesday, announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of N93.1 billion for the first phase of the proposed National Homegrown School Feeding Programme. This was made known by the Senior Special Assistant, Media & Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who stated that the released fund will ensure that in the first instance, 5.5 million primary school pupils would be served one free hot meal a day for 200 school days.
Akande explained the N93.1 billion which has been appropriated in the 2016 budget for the feeding programme, will cover 18 different states – three per geopolitical zone – and will feed at least 5.5 million primary school one free hot meal for 200 school days.
“5.5 million school children would be fed free of charge for 200 school days in first phase of homegrown school feeding programme starting this year.”
He urged interested states to compliment the efforts of the Federal Government, however, noting state governments cannot and will not be compelled to do this, stated that “we want the states to embrace this programme, it is good for the people, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
The SSA further disclosed that the feeding programme will also create jobs and improve the economic situation of families, “because it is a localized menu that is provided for the pupils by the small-holder farmers from within the community who in turn also benefit,” he stated. “A food vendor who to prepares meals for say 100 pupils per day, has to interact with small-holder farmers who grow yam, egg, condiments vegetables fruits. She has to interface with transporters as well as sellers of fuel etc thereby exchanging income along the value chain.”
He also said that Federal Government the will pay caterers and beneficiaries directly at the rate of N70 per meal. The National Homegrown School Feeding Programme is part of the N500 billion social investment plans of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Abia, Osun and Kaduna states have so far adopted and kicked off the feeding programme.