THE Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) is not collapsing as some people seek to portray, Mr S.P. Adamu, the National Co-ordinator of the programme has said.
He said on the contrary, the programme was progressively expanding and that at the end of the year, enrolment figures in beneficiary schools were expected to hit 1,040,000 from last September’s figure of 656,000.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at Akropong after touring some of the schools in the Atwima Nwabiagya District as part of his three-day tour of the Ashanti Region, Mr Adamu said payment of caterers was also on-going and anyone who doubted it could verify from the caterers.
He said it was important for Ghanaians to support the government to further develop the programme since there were benefits to be derived from it.
He stated that the government had allocated GH¢50 million to support the GSFP this year, promising that the amount would be put to good use.
Mr Adamu disclosed that more schools would join the programme after a national assessment exercise at the end of the year.
The national co-ordinator, who visited schools at Akropong and Asuafua, also addressed meetings with the District and School Implementation Committees (SICs) and caterers.
Addressing the various meetings, Mr Adamu said the GSFP was keeping a close eye on enrolment, attendance and retention of pupils in schools running the programme.
“It is when pupils attend classes and remain in school that we can continue to say we are making progress,” he added.
He reminded the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to see the programme as theirs because at the end of the day, the benefits would go to them.
Mr Adamu reminded caterers to purchase at least 80 per cent of their food items locally.
“This is one way of supporting our farmers to produce more,” he stressed.
“The GSFP is not just to boost education but also to put money in the pockets of our local farmers who will sell their produce to the caterers,” he said.
The District Chief Executive for Atwima Nwabiagya, Nana Asare Bediako, pledged the continuous support of the assembly to the programme.
He said getting the best for the GSFP was part of the government’s “Better Ghana agenda”.
The Akroponghene, Nana Appiah Sarfo Kantanka, stressed the need for emphasis to be placed on the quality of food served to the children.
“Sometimes, I am not impressed about the quality of food and I think something can be done about it,” he said.
The Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator of the programme, Mrs Ophelia Antwi-Boasiako, called on the SICs to monitor the work of caterers to ensure that they did the right thing.
She also asked schools that had not formed SICs to do so because without that, it would be difficult for any serious supervision work to be carried out.