Vendors participating in the Federal Government’s Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State have stated that N35, which is the cost price of the meal per child they are expected to provide, is not feasible.
The vendors stated that the food is supplied at N50 per plate, broken down as N35 cost price and N15 profit.
Speaking with NAN on Sunday in Kaduna, Yakubu Kajang, the Desk Officer of the programme in Kaura, confirmed that N50 was budgeted per plate, and 261 vendors participate in the programme.
The vendors, however, lamented the cost price, which they described as “no longer feasible” and urged the Federal Government to review the price.
Mrs Alice Emmanuel, one of the vendors, who supplies food to U.B.E. Zwahu Kazah in Manchok, said: “Price of food items are on the increase and we are expected to prepare a nutritious meal with just N35. If you put one and two together you will realise that we spend more than N50 per plate.
“We have to use the vegetable we planted in our backyards meant for family use and, in some cases, even beans in the house are not spared, just for us to really have something to take home as profit.
“We are in a serious dilemma because N35 is no longer feasible to prepare a nutritious meal, and if the food falls below quality it will be rejected by the school authorities.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to increase the amount from N50 to N100 per plate for the programme to achieve its aim of empowering poor women like us. We are currently running at a loss.”
Mrs Hajaratu Kato, another vendor, who noted that a measure of rice sells for between N550 and N600, while beans cost N500, stated that for the 53 pupils she supplies meals at Unguwan Nka, Gizagwai, Manchok Primary School, she uses seven measures of rice and three measures of beans, which cost N5,700.
According to Kato, “When you multiply N50 by 53, it will give you only N2,650. That is what I get for supplying rice and beans that cost me N5,700, minus money spent on fish, vegetable, crayfish and other ingredients.
“When you minus N2,650 from my cost of N5,700, you will see that I am already at a loss of N3,050. This is why some vendors had to either cut down the quantity of food per plate or reduce the quality to make profit, or better still, use some food items for family use to reduce cost.”
Jummai Dauda, another vendor said: “We are incurring huge losses in the name of empowerment. The Federal Government should look into this and do the needful. Food items are expensive. N35 is really not realistic.
“Some of us are still doing this because we are mothers and a mother is always ready to make the needed sacrifice for her children, particularly when it comes to feeding.
“If the rate can be increased to at least N100 per plate, it would go a great way in meeting the programme’s objectives, but as it is now, it is simply impoverishing us.”
NAN reported that around 1.6 million primary one to three pupils in 3,752 primary schools in Kaduna State are being fed under the programme.
Five non-governmental organisations – Connecting Gender for Development; Action Aid Nigeria; Girl Child Concern; Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria and Nigeria Popular Theatre Alliance – with support from MacArthur Foundation are carrying out an ongoing monitoring of the programme in the state to ensure transparency.