Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday launched the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme tagged “Ekiti-Kete School Meal” in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
With the launch, Ekiti became the 31st state to commence the Federal Government initiative.
According to Prof Osinbajo, 75,020 pupils in all the public primary schools across the state would be fed once daily; adding that the programme will not only increase school attendance and enrolment but checkmate malnutrition among pupils.
Explained that the school feeding programme as one of the components of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the Federal Government, the vice president said the programme was already catering for 9.3 million pupils.
Besides, he said the scheme has empowered farmers, whose produce were being bulk-purchased for the programme.
He said it was important that the government programmes empower the people and alleviate poverty among the masses.
Commending Governor Kayode Fayemi for keying into the programme, the Vice President said he was not surprised by the governor’s gesture and support for the success of the SIP, saying he (Fayemi) was one of its initiators.
The Vice President noted that Fayemi pioneered some of the social security programmes, especially the introduction of the Youth Volunteers Programme (YVP) which is now called N-Power at the national level and the Social Security for the elderly.
He stated that the government had invested N5.6 billion on its (SIP) in Ekiti State; adding that the Federal Government would soon increase the number of N-Power volunteers to accommodate more unemployed youths.
Dr. Fayemi disclosed that about 2,000 people have been employed to meet the feeding requirements of over 905 public primary schools in the state; adding that the programme will create job opportunities along the value chain of the economy, as well as boost the income of peasant farmers by creating a viable and ready market.
The governor assured that his administration would play its part with utmost dedication, commitment and honesty to make the programme in the state a model.
He recalled that all the social security programmes that were initiated by his government during his first tenure, were jettisoned by his successor, with the state indices in education, health and livelihood abysmally dropped.
He said this informed his resolve to key into the Federal Government’s SIPs and “reactivate our old social security programme”.
He said: “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.
“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.”
One of the caterers employed for the school feeding in Moba Local Government Area, Mrs Modupe Ajisefini, thanked the government for the initiative; stressing that the programme has improved school attendance since it started a few weeks ago.
She said the programme will provide nutritional value and improve pupils’ intelligence quotient