The Federal Government home grown feeding programme in Ondo State has run into crisis, as food vendors responsible for cooking for pupils have reportedly reduced ration.
Checks showed that the feeding menu prepared by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was no longer being used by the vendors.
In some schools visited by reporters, the pupils said they have not been given fruits for over two years.
They claimed that the ration being served has been reduced, adding that the food vendors do not come regularly.
The Ondo food vendors said the low ration was because what they paid them was not in tune with current reality of hike in food prices.
Some of the food vendors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were paid N12,000 weekly to prepare food for between 50 and 70 pupils in some schools.
According to one of them, “the money given to us is not enough compared to the number of pupils we cook for. To be sincere, the government is giving us eggs for the pupils but the other expenses and items such as stove and gas we cook with are all expensive. The prices of food ingredients are also not friendly in the market and we have complained, but nothing was done. This is why we give the pupils whatever is available.
“As for me, there is no how I will bring fruits for the pupils, how will I do it? So I have ruled out fruits because there is no money available for that.”
A headmaster in a primary school in Ifedore Local Government said the school feeding programme led to increased enrolment in public schools.
The headmaster said the food vendors complained of not being paid.
The Senior Special Adviser to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Multilateral and Intergovernmental Relations and Ondo State Focal Person on Nigerian Social Investment Programme, Mrs. Bunmi Ademosu, said the claims by the food vendors were untrue.
She accused the food vendors of inflating the number of pupils in schools.