School feeding: Nigeria begins training for food vendors
Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
The Nigerian Government has activated a nationwide documentation and training for food vendors for its national home-grown school feeding programme.
This is in a bid to ensure hygiene food consumption as well as promoting a home-grown sourced products for school children across the country.
At the Lagos session of the program, the Nigeria’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Mrs. Sadiya Umar-Faruq explained that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is keen to creating enabling environment for citizens to thrive in all ramifications.
The Minister said that the whole essence of the program is to train food vendors across the country to maintain a safe and hygienic environment while preparing and procuring food for the children.
“What we are trying to do is to train the food vendors who are the custodians of securing lives of our children by serving them quality meals. We have to put this into consideration and to make sure that all the food vendors are familiar with what it takes to give our children, in terms of quality, which revolves around environment they choose while preparing their meals.
“Equally, this is to also alleviate poverty among the people and to increase the enrollment of children into school and reduce malnutrition among them,” she said
She mentioned that the program is the maiden edition and the Lagos session involved 2 food vendors who were selected from a local government, bringing the total trainees to forty vendors.
“The two food vendors from a local government who will receive this training today will then step it down to other food vendors, a trainer will train about twenty other food vendors, and we will eventually have about eight hundred being trained, so it’s like training the trainers session,” She said.
The Minister who was represented by a staff of the Ministry, Mr. Oni Williams-Olu said that the Ministry would be consistent in training the food vendors and allow them to be more exposed to quality and knowledge-based sessions.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke lauded the initiative by the government which is towards making education more meaningful and enticing.
“The program has social implication because part of our agenda in Lagos is to also reduce poverty and create wealth for the people, but this is a federal government efforts to help the cooks learn the health intricacies to use in assisting as they cook for our children.”
“All the people involved in this program must realize that we are not cooking for the children alone, but to also improve their health and build our wealth as well as making education more meaningful.”
Arobieke urged people to key into numerous initiatives of the Buhari’s government to involve people at the lowest pyramid in the society and ensure they are well empowered.
The Commissioner also commended the initiative of cash transfer by the government which have taken care of many artisans, market women and men in the State.
She therefore urged the food vendors to register in the cash transfer programme of the Federal government to better their lots.
Zonal Coordinator, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Mrs Uche-Ibeabuchi Chinyere added that the idea by the government to involve youths in its National Social Investment Programme would take away restiveness among the youths and guide them towards a profitable ventures.
She posited that the move by the federal government is to build a two-face development aimed at enhancing the capacity of farmers on one hand and ensuring quality food for children on the other hand.
According to her “in this particular one we are talking about Home Grown food and feeding program. We are feeding the children using our home grown food which is also a plus to the government and a way to alleviate poverty.”
“Our land is blessed one, and with this program, now the farmer were empowered so that they can bring out products that will be transferred to our food vendors who will now make them into food that our children will eat in schools.”
The program according to her would help school children to stay off their houses to schools, because they know when they come to school hunger is out of it and they will be able to concentrate in class.
Program Manager, Home Grown School feeding program, Lagos, Mr. Olalekan Hakeem said that it is very important to ensure the cooks are feed with up-to-date information about cooking skills set which will assist them I’m the discharge of their duties.
He said, “The State has been conducting training of this nature, but we are glad that Federal government is coming up with this initiative and Lagos State Universal Basic Education LASUBEB houses the home grown school feeding programme and it has been highly effective.
This is synergy and it is a collaborative venture, amongst the Federal, State and Local Governments and as we are seated here we have our health officers at various local government”
A food vendor at Oshodi Isolo Primary School, Mrs. Ajisafe Kehinde said that the feeding program has assisted greatly in the enrollment of more children into school as it has increased their numbers, unlike the days without food in schools.
She appreciated the government for this initiative and assured them of quality deliveries all the time.
Participants were enlightened on hygiene part of food processing, food procurement, costing, kitchen portion control, menu standardisation, financial literacy and how they can cascade what they have learnt into other programs, like catering, among others.