The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) has trained 3,227 caterers and head cooks in the Ashanti Region with the aim of improving their skills and knowledge on food preparation.
The one week intensive training brought together caterers, head cooks, some local farmers, district desk officers, district nutrition officers and SHEP officers among others.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison commended the Government of Ghana, the AUDA-NEPAD and other partners for supporting her ministry to further empower the caterers of the GSFP.
She indicated that the Management of the GSFP had given series of training to the caterers in the past and had therefore observed that there was the need for the practical hands-on training for the caterers to better understand and sharpen their healthy cooking skills and proper food practices.
She underscored the importance of the feeding programme especially in the lives of the deprived school children, their parents, local farmers, and in the development of education in Ghana.
Mrs. Morrison noted that close to 3million Ghanaian children are currently benefiting from the Ghana School Feeding Programme in over 8000 public primary schools and kindergartens nationwide.
However, the programme the Minister indicated is faced with some challenges such as inadequate feeding grant, delay in the release of funds and inadequate skills and knowledge on the part of caterers.
Mrs. Morrison assured the caterers of Government’s commitment to address all the challenges going forward especially with the payment of caterers and provision of basic equipment for food preparation.
Ms Kefilwe Moalosi, Nutrition Project Manager of the AUDA-NEPAD rated Ghana highest among her compatriots implementing the Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Africa.
According to her, Ghana had been a leader in investing, expanding and sustaining the feeding programme in Africa, and entreated the Government of Ghana to do more by providing kitchen and dining spaces for caterers and pupils.
Ms Moalosi who was accompanied by Madam Josephine Kiamba, Food and Nutrition Security/School Feeding Consultant for AUDA-NEPAD was particularly impressed about the linkage between school feeding caterers and the local farmers who supply food on demand.
She was also happy about the availability of foodstuffs, vegetables and fruits in every community of Ghana as a result of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative of the Ghana Government.
The Ghana School Feeding Programme currently provides one hot nutritious meal per each school going day for pupils in deprived public basic schools.