By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Friday hinted that 168,450 pupils in Oyo state are to benefit from the federal government initiated Home Grown Feeding programme.
The governor dropped this hint at the official launch of the programme held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan,
Speaking through the state Deputy governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, the governor declared that 2,578 medically certified fit and trained vendors would benefit from the programme.
Governor Ajimobi said the programme which was part of the Federal Government’s social intervention scheme was aimed at aiding the provision of basic education through feeding.
He lauded the federal government for the feeding programme, which he described as a welcome development, especially during this period of recession when three square meals have become increasingly rare in the homes of our people.
According to Governor Ajimobi, 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.
The governor pointed out that the decision of Oyo state government to embrace the school feeding programme was a further demonstration of his administration’s commitment to tackling the problem of malnutrition among school age children in the state.
He added 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.
Governor Ajimobi while commending Federal Government for the laudable initiative,said 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”.
Coordinator of the Home Grown school feeding in Oyo State, Mrs. Adekunle Folasade disclosed 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.
Oyo state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela in his remark urged all the stakeholders in the programme to leave no stone unturned in ensuring the success of the programme in the state.
“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.”