Smallholder farmers could enhance school feeding

04 Mar 2017 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 03 MAR (NAMPA) – The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture is assessing the possibility of diversifying school meals in its feeding programme to include locally produced foods bought from smallholder farmers.
Delivering her address at the celebration of Africa Day of School Feeding here Friday, Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said her ministry partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the World Food Programme (WFP) in a feasibility study to establish the potential for smallholder producers to supply food to schools.
She said if implemented, the initiative will diversify school meals and increase the nutrition in-take of learners, while increasing the income for smallholder farmers.
Hanse-Himarwa said the Friends of Education Initiative provides the private sector with the opportunity to contribute to education and arts development in Namibia.
“It is my hope that such partnerships will bring benefits in the form of technical expertise, training, research and in-kind, and financial support.”
The Department of Programme Quality Assurance (PQA) in the education ministry started consultations with the private sector to establish a framework of engaging it to support the school-feeding programme on a medium to long-term basis.
On her part, Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme, Jennifer Bitonde stressed that 370 million school-going children around the world receive food provided by governments.
She said in sub-Saharan Africa, where needs are the highest and coverage is the lowest, only 30 million children receive food at school.
“That is why the decision by African Heads of State to adopt Home Grown School Feeding as a strategy for enhancing the retention and performance of learners, is a welcome initiative that will help address the gap,” Bitonde noted.
The Africa Day of School Feeding, aimed at intensifying the awareness of school feeding as an investment in the education of the children, was this year celebrated under the theme ‘Home Grown School Feeding: Investment in Youth and Children to Harnessing the Demographic Dividend’.