The Oyo State Government has disclosed that 168,450 pupils will benefit from the state Home Grown Feeding programme, an initiative of the federal government.
The state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi stated this on Friday at the official launch of the programme held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, noting that 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 Governor, who was represented by Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, explained that the programme which is part of the Federal Government’s social intervention scheme aimed at aiding the provision of basic education through feeding was a welcome development, especially during this period of recession when three square meals have become increasingly rare in the homes of our people.
Senator Ajimobi said that a report by the Food Consumption and Nutrition Survey in Nigeria captured the poor nutritional status of Nigerian children by revealing that 42% of Nigerian children are stunned, 25% underweight, nine percent are wasted, 29.55 suffer from Vitamin A deficiency while over 27% 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 the sustainability of the programme.
While thanking the Federal Government for the laudable initiative, Governor Ajimobi posited that the AgricOyo initiative of the Oyo State government has no doubt come at the right time considering its potential contributions to the success of the Home Grown school feeding programme.
“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 programme Coordinator of the Home Grown school feeding in Oyo State, Mrs. Adekunle Folasade said that the Federal Government would feed primary 1-3 pupils of public primary schools of one adequate meal per day at the rate of N70 per child, adding that the initiative is 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 reduce as well as improve nutritional status of primary school pupils.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela implored every stakeholder to leave no stone unturned in ensuring the success of the programme in the state, explaining that the government cannot be physically present everywhere.
He 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.”