President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo will from September 2019, launch the Cocoa Beverage Project (CBP), to supply pupils under the school feeding programme, cocoa drink in addition to their school meals.
Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), who announced this noted that the nutritional intervention was a step towards boosting the intake of pupils across the country.
The initiative, is in line with the strategic aim of the Ghana school Feeding Programme (GSFP), to shore up school enrolment, attendance, retention and reduce short term hunger and malnutrition.
The Sector Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Agona West gave the hint at a day's stakeholders' Regional workshop on Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of the 2018 report of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) in Cape Coast.
It brought together Coordinators of the Programme, representatives of Ghana Education Service( GES), Ghana Health Service (GHS), caterers, cooks and the media.
The workshop was organised by the Gender Ministry with support from the World Food Programme (WFP) to disseminate the report findings of CBA, the benefits of GSFP and to agree on the way forward.
Mrs Morison assured of several innovation interventions to be introduced by the Ministry to significantly boost the GSFP, particularly the quality of the meal served to the children.
It is also working to boost the welfare and financial management skills of the caterers to expand and sustain the programme to profit more Ghanaian kids.
Reiterating government's commitment to the programme, Mrs. Morison underscored the importance of the initiative stating that it would help in job creation, increase local food production and consumption and inure to health of the children.
In addition to that, the feeding grant of GH¢0.80 in 2016 has been increased to GH¢1.00 by government with negotiation ongoing to increase to GH¢1.50 per pupil and extend coverage from 62 to 70 percent by the end of 2020.
The Agona West Legislator enumerated some challenges confronting the smooth operations of the policy to include; delay in payment and the poor quality of the food served by some caterers and appealed to the private sector and development partners to sustain and expand the programme.
Mrs Gertrude Quashigah, the National Coordinator of the GSFP, said her outfit remained resolute to provide pupils in selected public primary schools with one hot nutritious meal prepared from locally grown foodstuffs.
In so doing, she revealed, more pupils in 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies representing 62 percent national coverage, would benefit from the initiative.
Mrs. Thomas Yaw Adjei-Baffoe, the Deputy Regional Minister said the implementation of the GSFP was a giant step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal one and two which seek to end poverty and hunger, food security, and improve nutrition.