Over 477,714 pupils in 987 schools across the country are currently benefiting from the Ghana School Feeding Programme at a total cumulative cost of over GH¢24,000, Kwadwo Adjei Darko, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, has disclosed.
According to the Minister, the Government of Ghana bore GH¢22,000 of the cost, while the Netherlands government provided GH¢2,170, 000.
The Programme is expected to cover about 1,556 schools by the end of 2008, and will feeding 1.4 million pupils by the end of 2010.
The Local Government Minister made these pronouncements when he took his turn to address the media on the progress of his ministry at the weekly ministerial Meet the Press series organised by the Ministry of Information.
Mr Adjei Darko disclosed that despite the problems associated with the GSFP, it had contributed significantly in increasing school enrolment, attendance and retention, as well as improving the nutritional status of children in the beneficiary schools.
In his view, the GSFP has achieved its objectives which also include reducing hunger and malnutrition, and boosting domestic food production.
He noted the basic concept of the Programme as providing children in public primary schools and kindergartens with one hot nutritious meal a day from locally grown food stuffs.
Outlining some major achievements of the Ministry, Mr Adjei Darko said a total of GH¢149,000 representing 5% of national revenue was released under the District Assembly Common Fund to help promote rural and community development.
He noted that in view of the enormous developmental responsibilities of the assemblies, Government had increased the District Assembly Common Fund from 5% to 7.5% and noted that disbursement of the new fund would start this year.
He also referred to the creation of 32 new District Assemblies as one of the measures government is taking to bring democracy to the grass roots while ensuring the fair sharing of the national cake.