The Federal Government is to increase the number of pupils benefiting from the National Home-Grown School Feeding program (NHGSFP) by five million.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, made this known on Wednesday in Maiduguri at a stakeholders engagement on enumeration of beneficiaries and scaling up of the programme in Borno.
Farouq who was represented by Alhaji Grema Ali, a Director in the ministry, said so far nine million pupils benefitted from the programme while additional five million would be added by 2023.
“The National Home-Grown School Feeding program (NHGSFP) was designed as a multi-faceted intervention to drive school enrollment up, boost nutrition of the pupils, support local production of food and encourage employment and income generation.
“Specifically, it is aimed at the provision of one nutritious meal to all pupils in public primary schools in classes 1 to 3 to achieve these objectives.
“Today, we are here in Borno State on the strength of our partnership and mutual recognition of the need to do more on the NHGSFP, to bring more Nigerians under the umbrella of the Government’s social protection mechanism, to look at scaling up the numbers of the pupils benefiting from the Program as directed by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Over 9 million pupils benefit from 1 free nutritious meal a day during school term nationwide, and now we have the mandate to reach an additional 5 million pupils by 2023.
“With over 100,000 cooks employed, and more than 100,000 small holder farmers participating in this value chain, the NHGSFP is a serious potential for socio-economic development and it needs to be strengthened, scaled up and sustained nationwide.
“I am therefore pleased that the Borno State and Federal NHGSFP teams as well as key stakeholders such as the National Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Education, National Orientation Agency, National Population Commission, National Youth Service Corp, UBEC and State Education boards are working jointly and closely to verify the existing numbers of beneficiaries on the program and update the records for better effectiveness, transparency and accountability,” Farouq said.
In his speech, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, lauded the programme which he said has greatly increased school enrollment and performance by pupils.
Zulum who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Isa Marte, said the programme and other social programmes under the National Social Investment Programme ( NSIP) of the Federal Government has contributed in reducing poverty and building hope and resilience in the people of Borno.
Also speaking, the Focal Person of NSIP in Borno, Hajiya Aisha Waziri, said they remained committed to ensure the success of the exercise in Borno.
“We want to assure you that no child will be left behind. We will go to all the corners in the state to ensure all child is enrol for the programme, ” Waziri said.
In his remarks, the Consultant for the programme in Borno, Alhaji Mohammed Alfa, said pupils from 2000 public schools in Borno would be captured through biometric.
Alfa said that there was special consideration for Borno to also include pupils of Tsangaya schools.