Oyo State Government has assured farmers in the state of increased patronage for their farm produce through the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP).
Mr Oyewole Oyewunmi, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, gave the assurance at meeting with farmers in Ibadan on Friday.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the HGSFP is the school-feeding initiative of the Federal Government, which is also supported by state governments.
Oyewunmi said that the programme was aimed at encouraging pupils to stay in school and improving their potential for learning, while stimulating the patronage of farmers for their produce.
Dr Adeyinka Onabolu, a Senior Adviser on Food Security and Nutrition to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that HGSFP would boost the market for local farm produce through the state’s Ministry of Agriculture.
She said that the ministry’s involvement was to put in place storage and aggregate structures where local agricultural produce could be stored in order to maintain its nutrition quality for pupils in public primary schools.
Dr Olapeju Phorbee, a representative of Group International Potatoes Centre, called on farmers in the state to concentrate more on the cultivation of “orange flesh sweet potatoes’’.
Phorbee said that the potato variety contained Vitamin A, which was not in other potato varieties, adding that the potato species was also not seasonal and could be harvested within three months.
She urged the HGSFP team to incorporate the “orange flesh sweet potatoes’’ in its menu for the pupils.
A spokesman for the farmers, Mr Nathaniel Adewinbi, commended the Federal Government for its efforts to provide quality cuisines the pupils so as to improve the standard of education.
He urged the government to sustain the programme, pledging the farmers’ readiness to support it.