Ghana School Feeding Programme seeks views on new policy

School FeedingParticipants at a day’s consultation forum in Ho on Wednesday expressed support for the formulation of a National School Feeding Policy.

Such a policy, they argued, would help deal with issues of delays in allowances, inconsistencies in the programme and ensure its sustainability.

The forum, under the auspices of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), was to seek the views of stakeholders in the Volta Region on the formulation of a policy for the programme. Similar forums were held in eight other regions.

Participants were mainly coordinators of the programme, caterers, officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, teachers and district chief executives.

They underscored the importance of the programme and expressed the hope that developing a national policy on it would help achieve its aim of reducing poverty and hunger.

Togbe Kwaku Ayim IV, Paramount Chief of Ziavi Traditional Area, who chaired the forum, said irrespective of its challenges, the programme enhanced school enrolment and retention.

Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Volta Regional Minister, said the programme could not depend on donor funding and called for re-structuring to ensure its sustainability.

“This programme is very dear and important to the government… the programme would be progressively expanded to all public basic schools in the rural communities to satisfy the basic nutritional needs of the pupils.

“But donor support cannot be perpetual; we need to look for other sustainable fund support source,” he said.

Mr Seidu P. Adamu, National Coordinator, GSFP, said the forums were necessary for people to appreciate the concept and contribute to its success.

He said the formulation of a national policy on GSFP would give it legal backing and provide strategies towards its prudent implementation and ensure transparency and accountability.

“The programme is doing well. It is creating jobs, reducing poverty and hunger, making agriculture attractive and enhancing interest in home grown local foods,” Mr Adamu said.

He said the challenge was how to develop a national policy on the programme for its sustainability.

“We want to ensure that the situation where people think I am the caterer and it is nobody’s business will be issues of the past. Situations where people say it is a political party affair will be gone, it is not a political party affair,” Mr Adamu said.

He called for active participation of communities in the implementation of the programme for its success.

Mr Baba Jamal, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, gave the assurance that the GSFP would not collapse.

He said information available to Government indicated that some caterers were treating their children in the schools differently from the rest of the pupils and was hopeful the formulation of a national policy would address such anomalies.

Source: GNA

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