The Lagos State government has adopted a more affordable and accessible home-grown school feeding approach to cushion the effects of the high cost of living.
Hakeem Olalekan, the director cum programme manager of the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) for Lagos State, made this known during a sensitisation workshop on bean curd (Tofu) NHGSFP compliance measures and school meal planners (SMP) held in state, on Tuesday.
Olalekan said the state decided to upskill the coordinators from all the local government areas who will, in turn, educate other teachers and food vendors to be proactive in resource management to curb waste.
“The essence of this training is for learning, it is a continuous process, it is a refresher course for some of our cooks that are here. We have two coordinators from our home economic centres from each of the local government areas because we are trying to introduce a new plant protein known as bean curd (Tofu) into our meal and menu in Lagos State.
“In actual fact, the home-grown school feeding programme is a Federal Government project implemented in collaboration with state governments. It is meant to provide one nutritious meal per day for every child from primary one to three throughout the federation,” he said.
Olalekan said Lagos State has keyed into the programme, and that with the assistance of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, Yetunde, Aribike, the commissioner for wealth creation and employment, who doubles as the NHGSFP focal person in the state, and Wahab Alawiye-King, chairman of the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (LASUBEB), the programme is a huge success in the state.
“The training activities of the NHGSFP are entirely anchored by the state government. We have little or no challenges in the state because the state government is behind us,” he said.
However, he maintained that the participants, consisting of health officers, cooks, and aggregators, among others, are being trained so that they can go back to their local governments and step down to others in their units.
“This is primarily to train them on how to prepare tofu, a plant protein meal that serves as an alternative to eggs and fish. Right now a crate of eggs is sold at N2,100 as against N1,600 it used to be, hence, we must be proactive to augment this with a locally made nutritious meal that is affordable and available,” he said.
Olalekan also disclosed that because eggs are on the high side, the state adopted introducing tofu to augment and that the state is not in any way stopping the other source of meals but just wanted to provide alternatives. He said he is looking forward to training people who will help manage resources efficiently and curb waste at all costs.
Agbeniyi Mojisola, a health desk officer from Mushin local government, expressed delight in the quality of exposure given to them at the workshop.
“I learnt how to prepare tofu, a nutritious home-grown meal which we use to replace other protein meals when not available. The teaching process was better than what we get from youtube because here, we had the privilege to ask questions in grey areas,” she said.
In the same vein, Fakeye Felicia, a health desk officer from Etiosa, said the workshop helped her to know how to go about providing alternatives in the face of scarcity, especially as it concerns school meals.
“If managing resources for school meals, if you do not want to use fish, you can use soya beans, and/or tofu as a protein source. That is one of the things I gained in this workshop,” she said.