The Gender Minister has revealed plans for soliciting contributions from some state agencies and private sector, to sustain the school feeding programme.

According to Otiko Afisah Djaba, proposals to that effect have already been submitted to some public institutions including National Lottery Authority, Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) as well as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

The Ministry is also collaborating with some private organisations and Civil Society groups through Public-Private Partnership to continue to support the programme, as part the strategies for a timely, regular and predictive flow of funds.

Madam Djaba disclosed this on the floor of Parliament Wednesday when she appeared before the House to respond to a question posed by the MP for Bole-Bamboi.

Yussif Sulemana wanted to know the measures being taken by the Ministry to sustain the Ghana School Feeding Programme.

“Mr. Speaker, feeding our children is very important and we propose that some contribution can be solicited from corporate entities like Ghana Lotteries, MASLOC, GETFUND and complementary resourcing by local authorities,” she told the House.

“The School Feeding Programme provides an opportunity to pursue Ghana’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 17.

"Currently, the programme provides one hot and adequately nutritious meal to 1,671,777 pupils in 5,528 schools per each school day,” she added.

According to her, in a bid to sustain the programme, her Ministry “has so far facilitated the payment of an amount of ¢210,803,509.92, including 44 days of the 2nd term which will be paid by the end of this week. The remaining 56 days would be paid by the end of this month.”

She also disclosed that the Ministry will embark on a 30 percent expansion of the programme which will increase the enrollment from 1,671,777 to 2,173,310.”

Additionally, Madam Djaba said the Ministry is working on the development of an appropriate legal framework to establish an agency or authority to secure the gains, ensure reliable and consistent funds and position school feeding as a driver for national development, she said.

Monitoring and evaluation

Another critical component to the sustainability of the programme the Minister noted, is monitoring and evaluation.

She, therefore, assured that her outfit is determined to improve the routine monitoring for timely and corrective action to assess processes, application of resources and results.

“The Ministry is working with development partners to enhance the capacity of staff and caterers to enable them to perform at their maximum capacity under healthier and environmentally acceptable standards,” she said.

Further, she remarked that “the Ministry is also embarking on an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ programme to improve collaboration amongst Parliamentarians, MMDAs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and beneficiary communities to strengthen this noble programme.”

Link to Agric

The government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme is expected to provide some relief as Madam Djaba said food grown in the vicinity of beneficiary schools will be preferred.

“We are pleased to say that under the able leadership of the President, Akufo-Addo, the government’s initiative of Planting for Food and Jobs and One District One Warehouse would provide the intermediate facilities needed to link the Ghana School Feeding Programme to Agriculture.”