The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has requested the Ministry of Finance to increase the feeding grant allocated to children under the programme.
According to the programme, it had requested an increase from the present 50Gp to GH¢1 to enable the caterers to provide more nutritious food for the 1.7 million pupils catered for under the programme.
The National Co-ordinator of the GSFP, Mr Seidu Adamu, made this known at the opening of a two-day programme aimed at enhancing the linkage between small-holder farmers and the school feeding programme.
The programme, dubbed the Ghana Home-Grown School Feeding Learning Event, was on the theme, “Sustaining the Ghana School Feeding Programme: Opportunities, challenges and lessons”.
The objectives of this year’s programme were to review ways in which lessons learnt from the maiden event held last year had influenced interventions and policies related to the programme.
Mr Adamu said the GSFP wanted to attain an ideal situation where every child under it would be provided with the required quality and quantity of food.
However, he said that could not be achieved with the current 50Gp being paid per child.
He said the programme, which was being implemented in 216 districts, had targeted about 2.5 million children from next year.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Julius Debrah, in an address, bemoaned some challenges associated with the programme, which included delay in the release of funds to the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO), among others.
The minister, whose speech was read on his behalf by the Director of Policy of the ministry, Mr Joseph Obeng-Poku, said despite some interventions, “it remains evident that procuring food crops from small-holder farmers in a planned, coordinated, participatory and strategic manner still remained a challenge at the local level”.
Mr Debrah, therefore, called for the strengthening of the linkages between the GSFP and caterers, processors and grain banks.
He said boosting domestic food production by sourcing food items locally, thereby improving the local economy and that of small-holder farmers, was one of the objectives of the GSFP.
The acting Chief Executive Officer of the Micro and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Mrs Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, said the centre had supported 455 caterers with about GH¢1.6 million.
She added that MASLOC had also sponsored agriculture-based programmes over the years.
Development partners from the World Food Programme (WFP), the Partnership for Child Development (PCD), the SNV, a Netherlands development agency, and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), all pledged their continued support to ensuring that the GSFP was sustained.
The Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Dr Esther Offei-Aboagye, who chaired the event, said everyone had a role to play in championing the school feeding programme in the country.
She said it was, therefore, important to locate the programme in the national agenda of the country.