The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday flagged off the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, tagged Ekiti-Kete School Meal in Ekiti State.
With the flag off in Ekiti, the number of states now participating in the programme has increased to 31.
Mr Osinbajo said 75,020 pupils in all the public primary schools across Ekiti State would be fed once daily.
He said the programme would increase school attendance and enrolment as well as checkmate malnutrition among the school age children.
He said the school feeding programme is one of the components of the social investment programme of the federal government which is currently catering for 9.3 million pupils and has empowered farmers whose produce are purchased for the programme.
He said “it was important the government programmes empower the people and alleviate poverty among the masses.”
The vice president commended the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, for keying into the programme. He said he was not surprised the governor gave support for the success of the social investment programme as he was one of its initiators.
He said Mr Fayemi pioneered some of the social security programmes, especially the introduction of the Youth Volunteers programme which is now called NPower at the national level and the social security for the elderly.
He stated that the federal government had expended N5.6 billion on its social investment programmes in Ekiti State; adding that “the government would soon increase the number of Npower volunteers to accommodate more unemployed youth across the country.”
Giving further details, Mr Fayemi disclosed that about 2,000 people had been employed to meet the feeding requirements of over 905 public primary schools in the State.
He said that the programme would create jobs along the value chain of the economy and boost the income of peasant farmers by creating a viable and ready market.
He assured that the state government would play its part “with utmost dedication, commitment and honesty to make the school feeding programme in Ekiti State the cynosure of all eyes.”
“Your Excellency, we in Ekiti State, commend your relentless personal commitment and leadership on social investment in the country. I can confirm that it has made a major difference in distinguishing between a compassionate government and an uncaring one and the result was evident in the last election,” said Mr Fayemi.
“It is clear that the people support our ideology that sees government as a catalyst for development, not a bystander that leaves everyone to his or her fate and we have you and Mr President to thank for your exemplary leadership in this regard.”
In her remarks, one of the caterers employed for the school feeding in Moba Local Government, Modupe Ajisefini, thanked the government for the initiative. She said the programme had improved school attendance since it started a few weeks ago.
She said the programme would provide “nutritional value and improve pupils’ intelligence quotient.”