The Ghana School Feeding Programme, led by Madam Gertrude Quashigah, National Coordinator, has announced plans to train caterers in an effort to reduce costs and food wastage while providing nutritious meals for school children.
This initiative aims to help caterers maximize profits and make better use of the GH¢1.00 per child they receive.
Madam Quashigah emphasized the importance of the training during a workshop focused on the dissemination of a Landscape Analysis Report on Rice Fortification.
The workshop aimed to share the report's findings and discuss strategies to enhance the nutritional value of school meals through rice fortification.
The workshop marked the beginning of a two-and-a-half-year project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Royal DSM and implemented by the World Food Programme.
The project seeks to improve the nutritional value of rice, a staple food, to meet the dietary needs of school children.
Madam Quashigah acknowledged that the amount received per child needs to be increased but assured that nutritious meals can still be prepared with the current allocation.
She mentioned that there have been discussions about a proposed increment from GH¢1.00 to GH¢1.20 pesewas per child and that further engagement with the Finance Ministry is ongoing for additional increment.
To ensure quality standards, the training for caterers will be certificated, allowing for proper assessment and evaluation of their work.
Madam Patience Asiedu, Head of Nutrition at the World Food Programme in Accra, highlighted that the project aligns with the government's efforts to boost local rice production.
As part of the project, the capacity of 5,000 smallholder farmers and 10 rice millers will be enhanced to support local rice production for the School Feeding Programme.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme, initiated by the Government of Ghana in 2005, aims to provide food to children in public basic schools from kindergarten to primary six.
The program's objectives include increasing school enrollment, attendance, and retention, reducing short-term hunger and malnutrition, and promoting domestic food production.
Currently, the program benefits 3,801,491 pupils, involving 34,350 cooks and caterers, and covers 10,832 public basic schools nationwide.