Caterers and farmers call on government for support

farmerCaterers and Farmers of the Ga West Municipal Assembly on Tuesday appealed to government to help resolve their financial situation which was retarding the development of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP).

“Since the inception of GSFP in 2005, we have always encountered the problem of delay in funds disbursement, inadequate foods supply and other essential commodities needed to help promote the GSFP”.

The appeal was made at a stakeholders meeting organised by SNV Netherlands Development Organization.

They said chemicals and fertilizers needed to help them in their farming activities were hard to come by whilst those available were of inferior quality.

“Machines that are used to cultivate and harvest rice have also become an unbearable problem for us to bear especially during harvesting.”

They urged government to increase the 40 pesewas paid feeding fees per day to help the school children get the essential balanced diet needed for their growth and mental development.

Speaking on the theme: GSFP Market Place: A Match Making Event for Linking Farmers to School Feeding, Mr Sylvester Ekpe, Agricultural and Business Development Advisor of SNV Netherlands Development Organization said the meeting was developed to benefit farmers, producers and caterers to generate a structured and predictable demand for their products.

“Building a market and an enabling environment for farmers to transports their hygienic products to caterers, who cook for our children in public primary and kindergarten schools is what we are seeking to achieve for the betterment of the whole country”, he said.

Mr Ekpe said the project, which was funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by SNV, sought to enable as many as 10,000 smallholder farmers and 30 per cent women in Ghana derive increased and stable income through effective participation in a Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) that used open, transparent and accountable procurement practices in its implementation.

He said for a more strategic approach in linking farmers to the GSFP, there was the need for the involvement of collaborating partners and government agencies for better dialogue and practical planning in achieving effective linkages.

Mr Ekpe said as part of efforts to respond to the need to link local farmers to the GSFP to boost domestic food production, SNV in collaboration with District Assemblies and Regional GSFP Secretariats, MOFA and other partners were facilitating a match making platform for the linkage between smallholder farmers and caterers of the School Feeding Programme (SFP) in the various district Assemblies benefiting from the project implementation.

Mrs Ernestina Ashong Ahlijah, Credit Officer of the Ga Rural Bank said the bank had principally been the bedrock of GSFP since its inception, as monies for carrying out the activities had always delayed.

She said at the moment, there were about 21 caterers on the banks list.

Mr Kinsley Young Opare, Programmes Officer for Operation (GSFP) said SFP was implemented with three core objectives, namely, health, education and its nutritional components.

Mr Opare Young said if much credence would be accorded all the three basics, the socio-economic development of the country would be promoted.

He said the SFP was a community based programme and so all community members should come on board to help promote it, as each little quota would yield a positive result.

“Using home grown foods to feed our kids will help reduce malnutrition, increase enrollment in basic schools and help parents to save money against their wards future”, he added.

Source: GNA

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