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C'River : 117,705 Pupils benefit from school feeding programme in two months

Ntufam Gab Okul Aja, Special Adviser to the Governor on School Feeding Programme
A total of 117, 705 (one hundred and seventeen thousand, seven hundred and five) primary school pupils have benefitted from the  Federal government Homegrown School Feeding programme since it kicked off in the last two and a half months in Cross River State.

Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on School Feeding Programme, Ntufam. Gab Okul Aja who is the Coordinator of the programme in the state disclosed this to newsmen during a media parley in Calabar.

Aja who said a total of 1,358 vendors have been engaged so far to cook for the children said that the programme has created huge impacts in the state and country at large.

The SA who stressed that there are so many opportunities in the initiative that goes beyond feeding the pupils said that the state has developed its programme called the "Outgrown" programme to explore some of the opportunities to grow local economies.

He hinted that the state has through the programme reached a partnership agreement with Akwa Ibom based Poultry and Hatchery firm Aquaprime to establish five new poultries farms in the state stock with 100, 000 broilers.

According to him "We got approval for this programme in 2016 but because of some conditions to fulfill, we commenced in essence in the last two and half months and within this period which we consider as a period of pilot study, 117,705 pupils have benefitted while 1,358 vendors have been engaged.

"For us in Cross River we are exploring the many opportunities abound in the initiative to benefit our people and also build our local economies. Already, we are into an agreement with Aquaprime to set up five poultry farms across the state which should produce 100,000 chickens by July this year. As we speak we have a farm stock with 30,000 broilers already".

While lamenting that over 60 per cent of the chicken and eggs consumed in Cross River State come from outside, he noted that government was partnering with the Poultry Farmers Association in the state with a view to revitalizing their farms.

The Coordinator however maintained that the N70 per meal budgeted by the federal government for the programme was no longer sustainable as food vendors are complaining that they can no longer afford the basic needs for the programme with such amount.

"The N70 budgeted per meal is small, even the vendors can no longer get their basic needs with such amount. We have communicated this to the head office in Abuja but while we wait for them to respond we will continue to explore other opportunities to keep the initiative moving in the state".

Speaking about the way funds are managed in the scheme he said that "Funds are transferred directly from Abuja and as the Coordinator, I don't have the right to ask the banks to deduct any vendor's money without their consent. However, it's within my scope to ask bank to freeze account or stop paying when there's suspicion of irregularities".
President Muhammadu Buhari 6514539481357811095

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