By Maryam Garba Hassan
Osun state governor Ra’uf Aregbesola, said the state spends more than N3 billion annually on its home-grown elementary school feeding programme, launched by the Federal Government in 2005.
Aregbesola made this known on Monday at a high-level technical meeting of the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) in Abuja.
He said the sum of N12.5 million was expended on the programme on a daily basis and more than N600 million is spent on about 3,000 community caterers as transportation fare to the various schools.
The governor, who was at the event to share his state’s experience on the programme and how it can be replicated at the National level said the initiative has led to increased enrolment of children at the basic level.
He said the programme named O’MEALS by his state, had also led to the improvement of the health status of the pupils and has reduced incidences of school absenteeism among others.
“The programme is consistent with our goals of banishing hunger, creating work and wealth, creating functional education, restoring healthy living and engendering communal peace and progress”, he said.
According to him, the passion, prudence and seriousness the state government deployed in the implementation of the O’MEALS has earned us the support of the London-based Partnership for Child Development (PCD).
He said through the fruitful collaboration, Osun state has received technical assistance in redesigning the school feeding programme through endorsement of the Transition Strategy Plan Document.
He said with the state’s enrolment figure of almost 253,000, O’MEALS is one programme that is worthy of the investment made in it.
In a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Dr. MacJohnNwaobiala, said Nigeria was a signatory to the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).
He said the meeting was timely as it would afford stakeholders the opportunity to identify challenges militating against the effective implementation of the school feeding programme.