Government is expected to distribute the first set of produce from farms operated by the National Service Scheme to shore up food supplies to schools under the Free Senior High School programme.
Through the Economic Enclave Project under the GhanaCARES “Obaatan Pa” initiative, over 500 bags of maize have been harvested awaiting distribution to schools.
The Education Minister visited the Economic Enclave Project located at Sekyere Kumawu in the Ashanti Region, to assess the progress of work on the farms.
The project is implemented in three key locations in the Greater Accra, Oti and Ashanti regions.
At the Sekyere Kumawu farms under the supervision of the National Service Scheme, over 20,000 acres of land have been cultivated with some farm produce already being harvested.
Under the first phase of the project, the farms located on the vast land have maize, soyabean, and rice.
Executive Director of NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi, says produce from the farms are expected to support the school feeding programme and the free senior high school.
“If government is supporting us to grow maize, then the end result is going to support government projects including the school feeding programme and free SHS. We’ve signed an MoU with the Poultry Farmers Association, and hopefully, we will serve the entire country,”he said.
Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum believes the cost of the feeding programme can be reduced through the locally produced food commodities.
He says the affordability of the commodities will make the initiative more sustainable.
“This is because, the purchase will be made literally from the warehouse at an affordable cost. You’ll buy at a cheaper price but feed the children more. This will reduce the cost of preparing the meals and sustain the project,” he said.
The Minister hinted at the government’s plan to reintroduce school farms for hands-on experience for students in Agriculture.
“We are also supporting the setup of school farms. That together would really create an opportunity for the sustainability of the school feeding projects,” he added.
So far, fifty personnel under the national service scheme from agricultural institutions across the country are in charge of activities on the farms with assured employment.
The Economic Enclave Project aims at providing agricultural infrastructure and land development support to the entrepreneurial youth and the formal private sector.