April 11, 2019 8:11 pm

The Minister for Gender, Children & Social Protection, Hon. Cynthia Mamle Morrison has urged the caterers under the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) to fully patronise locally grown food items to prepare meals for beneficiary pupils under the feeding programme. According to the Sector Minister, the use of local food stuff will help support local farmers and promote agricultural development in the country.

“It will also help in cutting down costs for caterers as food purchased locally are relatively cheaper.” She added.

Hon. Cynthia Morrison made these known when she addressed participants of the Stakeholders Meeting organised by AUDA-NEPAD Mission Consultative Partnership Meeting on Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) in Ghana at the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute of the University of Ghana on Thursday 11th April 2019.

The theme for the meeting was “Partnering the Government of Ghana to Strengthen the Quality of School Meals through the Use of School Meal Planner.”

Addressing the gathering on the purpose of the meeting, Hon. Cynthia Morrison noted that the key focus of the consultation was for stakeholders to deliberate on the nutritional content of the meals served to pupils under GSFP.

The Hon. Minister stated that nutrition was one of the major factors that impacts greatly a child’s development.

“It is for reasons like this that the Government of Ghana since 2005 introduced the HGSF as an opportunity to increase cognition and learning, access and retention of school age children as well as improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers to tackle the then food security and educational challenges,” she disclosed.

                                                                                                                                                                          She added that since its conception, GSFP has increased the enrolment rate in the public schools, reduced dropouts and has created jobs for caterers and cooks. She pledged the government’s continued support to the program and called for more support from development partners to ensure the continuous development and growth of school children for the future.

On her part, the Acting National Coordinator of the GSFP, Dr. Mrs. Gertrude Quashigah expressed the need for all Ghanaians to embrace and support the school feeding programme which she indicated sought to reduce hunger and malnutrition; increase school enrolment, attendance and retention; and to boost domestic food production among others.

According to her, the implementation of Home Grown Ghana School Feeding Programme, caterers would be obliged to purchase local wholesome food items from farmers in their respective communities.

She said, special attention would also be given to the proper preservation, processing and packaging of the food items to prevent post-harvest losses and would also serve as a means of livelihood for women who would be trained on food production/value addition food chain.

Mrs. Quashigah said that all headmasters would be encouraged to have school gardens in their respective schools to boost food supply to the Ghana home grown school feeding programme.

A representative from the World Food Program (WFP) in her address commended the Ghanaian government for taking full responsibility of the GSFP as of 2017.

“Indeed, in taking the lead in fully owning its school feeding programme, Ghana became and remains an example among its contemporaries and in the continent,” she said. She added that WFP will support Government by helping link Ghana school feeding to agriculture production to create a ready market for local farmers for their produce.

Madam Bibi Giyose, member of the AUDA-NEPAD Mission, has urged stakeholders and policy makers to put a stop to the habit of conducting researches and making policies only to cast them aside but rather take steps to solve the issues plaguing the African society.

Source: MoGCSP