A nutritionist at the Secretariat of the Ghana Schools Feeding Programme (GSFP), Mrs Louisa Adda has urged caterers under the programme to use locally produced foodstuffs to prepare meals for the pupils.
According to her, the use of local food items would provide jobs and market for the farmers, with the bigger objective of reducing poverty and hunger in the country.
“Everything should be centered in the community. You are supposed to cook what is grown in our community. So please don’t go and buy rice from Burkina Faso when you can get rice from your community” she stated.
She said if caterers sourced their foodstuff from local farmers, it would boost the country’s economic fortunes and give employment to the people as well as check gluts, which has become annual occurrences.
Mrs Adda said this during a day’s orientation workshop to equip caterers with the knowledge on the school feeding programme in Bolgatanga.
The nutritionist underscored the need for caterers to keep their cooking environment clean whiles providing the students of the beneficiary schools with balanced diets.
Mrs Adda said the Ghana School Feeding Programme under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, for a start, would supply caterers with rice at a cost of GHC180.00 per a 50 kilogram bag.
She said the purpose was to assist caterers, especially those without capital to run the programme with ease whiles a monthly deduction is made on their head cost to subsequently cover the cost of the rice.
However, some of the caterers who spoke to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga said kicked against the proposal.
Mrs Margaret Akagwire, a caterer said the price the Ministry was offering was higher than that of the local rice at the markets and that such a proposal could affect the quality and quantity of food to be prepared for the children.
“We can even get rice at a lower price to cater for the children very well. The local rice is sold at Ghc160.00 so I don’t think they should give us the same for Ghc180.00”, and added that the proposal to supply the caterers with rice was contradictory to Mrs Adda’s appeal to the caterers to patronize local rice.
Mrs Louisa Adda promised to send their suggestions and concerns to the Ministry for redress.
The caterers are expected to prepare a meal at the cost of eighty Ghana pesewa per child per day. Contracts of the caterers, according to Mrs Adda, “will be terminated if you don’t cook for 20 school going days and you will never get a contract again.”
Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Rockson Bukari entreated the caterers to adhere to all guidelines under the contract agreement to avoid any legal suit.
He advised them to report all concerns to the Chief Executive Officers and supervisors of the programme in their district “to nib such hiccups in the bud” to ensure that the programme was successful.