School-feeding programme delayed again
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Schools will have to wait another year for the roll-out of the long-delayed school-feeding programme, which was to get under way in 2010.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Roger Clarke, told The Gleaner last week that there continued to be challenges; however, he said he expected the programme to get underway soon. Clarke made the revelation following the All-Island Jamaica Cane Farmers' Association groundbreaking ceremony to build new facilities to accommodate cane farmers in Inswood, St Catherine.
The minister had also told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last year July that the school-feeding programme, which would cater to more than 130,000 students across the island, would have been launched in September of that year.
He is now saying there were some teething pains, including procurement problems.
"And there were monetary aspects as well, because the imports are much cheaper and the budget is very finite. So we will have to do a mixture of what we import and our local produce or else the budget would be completely wiped out," he said.
The minister added, "I foresee that within a year we should be able to get things off the ground, and also increase the number of students who will benefit."
He also said there was a slight change of plan in what the students would be getting.
'Some juices have gone into the schools now; however, we will not be focusing on juices alone, we will be collaborating with various stakeholders to incorporate eggs (liquid) into our nutri-bun system. We are also planning to do soups along with porridge," he said.