School Feeding Programme: Federal Government To Copy Aregbesola’s Template

SONY DSCThe Jonathan’s led Federal Government is now ready to copy the template of the school feeding programme of the Governor of the State of Osun; Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola tagged O’MEALS.

This is not the first time the central government will be copying the template of Aregbsola’s administration for better governance, they have replicated Aregbesola”s youth empowerment scheme tagged OYES, they called SURE-P among many others.

According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, while presenting a performance review of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)-funded intervention programmes and projects of the Ministry between 2011 and 2013, as well as proposals for 2014 under the ministry’s proposed appropriation to the House of Representatives Committee on MDGs.

He said “To address the problem of malnutrition among children, especially those of school age, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed the introduction of school feeding as a pilot scheme in Sokoto State and the Federal Capital Territory in the 2014 budget.

The Minister noted that almost one out of every six children born in Nigeria die before the age of five, adding that malnutrition is a major cause of mortality and morbidity among children under five years, as well as pregnant women.

Adesina stated that in addition to being a major cause of mortality and morbidity among children and vulnerable women, extreme poverty and hunger are also silent mental capacity killers among children, as an underfed and malnourished child finds it much harder to learn than his well-fed counterpart.

Indicating that the ministry has achieved the MDGs number one goal of reducing by 50 per cent by 2015 the number of Nigerians exposed to hunger and extreme poverty well ahead of target, the Minister listed key intervention areas of the ministry within the period under review.

He argued that agriculture is three to four times a more efficient tool for reducing hunger and extreme poverty than any other form of government intervention, as smallholder farmers account for about 75 per cent of the rural population where poverty is most acute.

Among the measures and projects the ministry undertook between 2011 and 2013 to achieve MDGs goals within the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, he said, are development of vitamin-embedded cassava varieties.

The special cassava varieties, he said, were being distributed to smallholder farmers in key cassava-growing States all over the country.

Adesina also pointed out that the ministry also embarked on development and distribution of orange-feed sweet potato varieties, including the training of 6,000 youths to multiply planting materials for farmers.

While giving a performance assessment of the Ministry’s MDGs-funded intervention projects, which he said were at a weighted average completion level of 65 per cent, the minister said N4.0 billion was proposed for MDGs projects in 2013 with N2.1 billion actually released.

He said whatever the amount the ministry will receive in the 2014 budget year, a major target of the ministry’s intervention will be to raise the number of women farmers with access to Government’s growth enhancement support (GES) from 600, 000 in 2013 to 1.5 million this year.

The House Committee on MDGs gave its endorsement of the Ministry’s MDGs programmes and projects.

The Committee also called for closer collaboration between the committee and the ministry to ensure the attainment of the key targets of MDGs by the 2015.

It would be recalled that the Governor of the State of Osun since assumption of office have been feeding the pupils of the elementary class in the public schools of the State with variety of balanced diet foods like Eggs, Meat, Cat fish and fruits to boost their well-being for efficient learning and the programme has yielded desirable results and a PDP led Federal Government is working on it now replicate the programme.