At current numbers, the Federal Government spends more than $1.8 million, equivalent of Nigeria 642 million Naira every day on the National School Feeding Programme, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
He also said $183 million had so far been invested in the programme.
According to NAN, Osinbajo stated this in his keynote address at the closing ceremony of the 20th Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum held at Four Seasons Hotel in Tunis, Tunisia, on Thursday.
Osinbajo was quoted as saying more than nine million primary pupils were benefitting across 26 states where the programme had taken effect.
The programme featured more than 353 delegates and experts from nine countries. The delegates included experts in the nutrition industry, United Nations officials from the World Food Programme, Global Child Nutrition Fund, the World Bank and stakeholders.
He said: “By tackling the broader issues of eradication of poverty, food and nutrition security, and increasing school enrolment. It is becoming clearer that the 21st century will be defined by knowledge and skills.
“The nations that are best able to present the most knowledgeable and most skilful citizens will prevail in commerce, in science and technology and of course, will enjoy the greatest prosperity and the longevity to enjoy the prosperity.
“Nations that do not invest enough to produce the required level of talent and skills will be left behind; a farther distance than ever before in the history of mankind.
“By 2035, Africa will have 1.2billion people. Over 50 per cent of that number will be young persons under the age of 25. Today, 60 per cent of the unemployed in Africa are young people.”
Osinbajo said at the cost of $0.19 per child per day, a balanced meal was provided for every one of the children, as 9,300,892 million pupils in 49,837 public primary schools in 26 states across Nigeria benefitted daily.
According to Osinbajo, at current numbers, the programme costs $1,767,169.48 per day and over $183 million has been invested so far in the programme.
He continued: “The programme employs 95,422 cooks, and over 100,000 smallholder farmers linked to the programme, supplying locally sourced ingredients.
“This translates to 594 cattle, 138,000 chickens, 6.8 million eggs, 83 metric tons of fish that are procured, prepared, and distributed each week. As you can imagine, the quantity of starch and vegetables required for this programme on a weekly basis is equally impressive”.
He listed highlighted partnerships with international donors such as Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and Partnership For Child Development, Imperial College, among others, justa s he commended the Global Child Nutrition Forum and World Food Programme, for their efforts.
Present at the occasion were Hatem Ben Salem, Minister of Education, Republic of Tunisia; Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Fund; Don Burdy, Specialist at World Food Programme/World Bank, Daniel Balaban, Director of Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Brazil and other regional representatives of WEF and GCNF, international donors.