Caterers participating in the School Feeding Programme have presented a proposal to the government, requesting an increase in the allocated amount per child. They are urging the government to raise the current rate from GHS 1.20 to GHS 3.50 per child.
The caterers argue that this adjustment is necessary due to rising costs and the need for sustainable operations to provide nutritious meals to students.
The government had recently announced an increment in the cost per meal per child, from 98 pesewas to GHS 1.20. Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, revealed that discussions were underway with the Ministry of Finance to review the amount.
However, the caterers have strongly rejected the proposed increment, stating that it is grossly inadequate to adequately feed the children. Charlotte Asante, the President of the School Feeding Caterers’ Association, justified their stance during an interview on Adom FM’s morning show, “Dwaso Nsem” on Tuesday.
Asante explained that the caterers are struggling to provide balanced meals to the pupils due to the skyrocketing prices of food items. She expressed their frustration, stating, “We try to balance, but things are not balancing because the money is too small; we are really suffering.”
The distressed caterer emphasized that the government has the responsibility to support the preparation of nutritious meals for the pupils and questioned why they cannot allocate just GHS 3.50 per child to sustain such a commendable program.
She further revealed that the caterers have decided not to cook until the government reviews the meager amount of ¢1.20 per child.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme was initiated by the Government of Ghana in 2005 with the objective of providing meals to children attending public basic schools from kindergarten to primary six.
The primary goals of the programme are to enhance school enrollment, improve attendance and retention rates, alleviate short-term hunger and malnutrition among students, and promote domestic food production. By offering regular meals to schoolchildren, the program aims to create a conducive learning environment and contribute to the overall well-being of the students. Additionally, it supports local farmers and agricultural development by sourcing food supplies from within the country.