The Ministry of Agriculture looks to use more locally grown produce in the school feeding programme.
The announcement came from the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw during his presentation in parliament on October 9.
He outlined some of the agricultural crops that could be used as part of the programme as a means to provide well-balanced meals for students.“There are several agricultural products in which we already have to achieve a hundred percent market share that can be used in the school feeding program such as carrots, callaloo, cabbage, pumpkin, sweet potato, breadfruit, cassava, yam, and green banana just to name a few.”
He highlighted the benefits that students will gain when consuming these foods.“Information passed to me indicates that sweet potato contains over 15 health benefits… including prevention of vitamin A deficiency, improvement in vision, management of weight and management of diabetes.”
The minister says if schools make contracts with farmers, they will also benefit as it would also create employment for many individuals in the country.
Recently, the government has announced that there will be a policy to reduce sugary drinks in schools effective January 2019. This is a part of the government’s push to reduce obesity rates along with non- communicable diseases that are prevalent in children.