Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka, the Programme Manager, Home Grown School Feeding Scheme in Anambra, has said that the death of 10 cooks stalled the implementation of the programme in some schools in the state.
Uzoamaka. said this while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a two-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria.
The workshop was organised by Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) on yesterday in Awka.
She said that about 1,500 primary school pupils no longer benefit from the programme because of the death of the cooks, who were yet to be replaced.
According to her, the school feeding programme is one of the Social Investment Programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, catering for primary one to three pupils.
Uzoamaka said that the cooks were recruited from communities around schools across the 21 local government areas, verified and trained in food safety and hygiene.
“All the government primary schools in the state should be benefitting from this programme, but due to challenges in the programme some schools are not benefiting.
“Since the inception of the programme in 2016, about 10 cooks have died and it is affecting the programme in some schools.
“It is only the national office that can recruit and replace them, we have no right to replace them, but we have written to inform the national body but they are yet to be replaced.
“Each cook cater for about 150 pupils and they are being paid by the national office,” she said.
Uzoamaka said that the high cost of food items in the country was also affecting the quality of the food prepared by the cooks.
“Another challenge is the high cost of food items in the country, it is affecting the programme and the quality of food given to the children.
“The cooks are really complaining and the high cost of food items is making it difficult for them to give us adequate meal per child.
“This development has made the Federal Government to agree to increase the meal price from N70 to N100, but it is yet to be implemented,” she said.
The programme manager said that the school feeding programme had increased the population of pupils, as many children who moved to private schools had returned to government schools.