The Oyo State Government will feed 168,450 pupils through the state’s Home Grown Feeding programme. Governor Abiola Ajimobi, disclosed this on Friday at the official launch of the programme held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan.
Ajimobi, who was represented by Deputy Governor Moses Adeyemo, said 2,408 public primary schools and 2,578 medically certified fit and trained vendors would benefit from the programme, which is a collaborative effort of the Federal Government and some state governments.
The Home Grown Feeding programme is part of the Federal Government’s social intervention scheme aimed at aiding the provision of basic education through feeding.
Ajimobi said the project was a welcome development especially during this period of recession when three-square meals have become increasingly rare in many homes.
Drawing from a report by the Food Consumption and Nutrition Survey in Nigeria, the governor noted that 42 per cent of Nigerian children have stunted growth, 25% per cent underweight, nine per cent wasted, 29.55 per cent suffer from Vitamin A deficiency while over 27 per cent are at different stages of iron and iodine deficiency.
He stressed that the decision of the state to embrace the school feeding programme is a further demonstration of his administration’s commitment to tackling the problem of malnutrition among school-age children in the state, pointing out that food items for the programme would be bought locally with attendant benefits to local farmers and the whole community which will enhance its sustainability.
The governor added: “It is apt to note that the Oyo State Agricultural initiative (also known as AgricOyo) which was recently put in place by our administration, is aimed at providing food for all as well as creating employment opportunities and reducing dependence on food importation,” Governor Ajimobi said.
Speaking at the launch, the Coordinator of the Home Grown school feeding in Oyo State, Mrs. Adekunle Folasade, said that the Federal Government would feed primary 1-3 pulpits of one adequate meal per day at the rate of N70 per child, adding that the initiative was meant to achieve the dual objectives of increasing national food production and ensure school children have adequate nutrition.
She said that the school feeding programme would serve as excellent safety net, boost production of homegrown foods by encouraging small scale farming, increase retention and completion rate of primary school pupils and improve nutritional status of primary school pupils.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela said: “We are major stakeholders in our various offices, classrooms and even in market places. We should therefore work together to build a nation where peace and justice reign.”
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