Plans are underway to extend the School Feeding Programme (SFP) to Junior High Schools in “the near future”, according to Dr Mrs Gertrude Quashigah, National Coordinator of the programme.
This follows the smooth and successful implementation of the programme, which now benefits 2,845,000 children in 9,670 primary schools countrywide, she said.
Dr Mrs Quashigah said that before the NPP assumed power, the programme benefitted 1,671,000 children in 5,970 schools.
She disclosed these in an interview with the Ghanaian Times at Adaklu-Waya in the Adaklu District of the Volta Region last Tuesday.
The National Coordinator of the SFP, who accompanied President Akufo Addo on his two-day tour of the Volta Region, said that the programme had made huge gains since the NPP took over power and increased the budget allocation for the programme.
Meanwhile, she said that a legacy debt of GH₵220 million which was incurred under the programme before the NPP took over power, had been cleared.
“The future of the SFP looks so bright and we hope it will benefit 5.5 million children when it is extended to the JHS,” Dr Mrs Quashigah told the Ghanaian Times.
According to her, the SFP had so far offered jobs to 9,720 women who had also engaged the services of close to 3,000 cooks in the programme’s value chain.
Apart from that, she said that the SFP had offered employment to a large force of farmers and fisher-folk who supplied local rice, soya beans, soya meat and fish to the programme.
“All these also boost the activities of the business community,” she added.
The SFP, Dr Mrs Quashigah explained, was a community-based and healthy agenda aimed at eradicating hunger in the rural communities.
She revealed that a lot of innovation training programmes had been held for women involved in the programme, including incorporating cassava and sweet potato leaves and other green stuff into the meals of the children, to eradicate iron deficiency among them and boost their Vitamin B components.
“We expect to see an even more resilient programme next year to build the resistance of the children against diseases, and also provide more jobs to the vulnerable,” she added.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, ADAKLU-WAYA