- Raji Adebayo, Ibadan
Accredited food vendors under the Federal Government’s Home Grown School Feeding Programme operating in designated primary schools across Oyo State have commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, for the seamless operation of the project.
As the Poultry farmers and other stakeholders in the animal husbandry have called on the Federal Government to include their members in the supply of eggs in the home grown school feeding program.
The vendors, whe were led in a procession to the governor’s office by Miss Toyosi Ajobo, on Monday, expressed gratitude to the All Progressives Congress-led FG for coming up with the novel idea.
The homegrown feeding programme was initiated by the FG in January to provide at least one nutritious meal for pupils in primary 1 – 3 at N70 per pupil, with Oyo as one of the seven pilot states for the first phase of the project.
Apart from helping to reduce hunger in the land, Ajobo said that their finding revealed the programme had caused a remarkable increase in school enrollment across the benefiting primary schools in the state.
She added that the programme had created a good number of jobs for the vendors, as well as farmers in the state and had also assisted to shoulder part of their responsibilities to their wards, whom, she said, were parts of the beneficiaries of the free food.
She said, “We have come to show our appreciation to the federal and state governments for this commendable initiative, which has been a good source of employment for a teeming number of our members.
“As parents, our children are also benefiting from the fully nutritional free food package for the primary school pupils. More of our children are now encouraged to go to school because of this initiative. We thank the government for the smooth running of the programme.
“This has shown that the government has not let us down. They have lived up to the promises they made during election period. We are here from all the local government areas and local development areas of Oyo State.”
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Adeyemo, enjoined the food vendors to always support the government in his determination to enhance the quality of education at all levels in the state.
He admonished the vendors to shun profiteering by not reducing the quality of the food being given to the pupils, warning that monitors from the state and federal agencies would be on the look out for any act of sabotage against the programme.
Adeyemo said, “We welcome your appreciation for the gesture of government towards creating jobs and enhancing educational development through provision of free meals to our primary school pupils.
“We want to charge you to put your conscience into the job. Do not shortchange the pupils by reducing the quality and quantity of the food being served.
“We have monitors from the state and federal agencies that will report anybody that goes against the standards set for you. We shall not hesitate to mete out appropriate discipline to such offenders.”
However, in a related development, poultry farmers and other stakeholders in the animal husbandry has appealed to the Federal Government to include them in the supply of eggs in the home grown school feeding program.
They made the call in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital at the 2017 Annual poultry workshop organised by Poultry Association of Nigeria Oyo State chapter in conjunction with Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Oyo State branch and Nigerian Institute of Animal Science themed “Sustaining poultry production in a recessed economy”
The workshop was attended by stakeholders which include members of various bodies, such as PAN, ASAN, agencies and farmers among others.
Speaking at the event, Chairman Poultry Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Mr. Banji Akanji said that the topic was crafted to reflect the present state of the economy and the impact of poultry.
He said there is a need for the government to patronise members of the association in order to reduce wastages and losses that accompanied unsold of eggs in the market on daily basis.
“We have not been feeling the impact of government in the purchase of eggs in the Home Grown School Feeding Program.
“We want government to patronise us in supply of eggs, we want them to make it compulsory in the program at primary school level that each pupil should be entitled to one egg per day because of the number of nutrients in egg.
“We have meet the state government that we are not carry along in the supply of eggs, we want them to come to our aid and patronise us. We want eggs and chicken to be included in people’s meal.
“Nigeria as a whole and not only the poultry has been bedelvied by the pestilence of economic melt-down especially in terms of the devaluation of our currency and the lack of appropriate action towards re-boosting our economy. More, so the incessant hike in prices and scarcity of raw materials especially maize has been issue of serious concern which the industry is trying to resolve.
“The poultry industry need frequent advertisements and public orientation about the consumption of eggs. All hands therefore needs be on deck.
Akanji then urged farmers who are yet to belong to the association to do so in their interest in their bid to build a strong and formidable platform.
In his keynote address, President, Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Pastor Taiwo Adeoye while soliciting for government support for poultry farmers decry the poor pricing of eggs in the country.
He said it will interest to know that crates of eggs in the past was higher than crates of coke and fanta but the reverse is the case now where crate of eggs is less than a thousand naira.
He then charged members of the association to take quality materials as their main focus in their day to day business.
In his lecture titled “Sustaining poultry production in a recessed economy” Adeoye enumerated efficiency, excellent management and quality personnels as some of the ways for the farmers to ensure optimum profit in this present economy.
While appealing to government to make it compulsory in patronising local farmers most especially poultry farmers, Adeoye informed that day in day out, there are thousands of unsold eggs that are lying over the various market due to low purchasing power of members of the public.
He identified “sky rocketing cost of raw materials, inputs leading to rising cost of feeds and production, low quality/adulterated of raw materials/inputs as some of the problems facing poultry farmers in the country.
Others are “very poor pricing of eggs, incessant egg gluts, outbreak of diseases, uncertainty in the general economy, insurgencies in the north, kidnapping in the south and regulation and deregulation of government policies.
Lagos Post Online,
Lagos Post is an online publication that seeks to provide fair, unbiased, credible, balanced and useful information about Corporate Organisations, Governments and the General Public by breaking news in Business, Politics, Arts, Entertainment, Culture, and Sports in Nigeria, Africa and the World. As a global news portal, we continually stand for responsible journalism and sound media practice.