Some food vendors under the Federal Government Home Grown School Feeding Programme in Kaura and Zangon Kataf Local Government Areas (LGA) of Kaduna State have lamented over consistent shortfall in eggs supplied for pupils under the programme.
In the menu, primary one to three pupil get Moi Moi on Monday, rice and beans on Tuesday, beans on Wednesday, rice and egg on Thursday and biscuit and juice on Friday.
But the vendors told a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria , who was in the area to monitor the programme on Thursday, that the eggs were always in short supply, sometimes below 50 per cent.
They called on the federal government to address the problem with the supply chain to ensure that adequate quantity was supplied.
One of the food vendors, Mrs Rifkatu Yashim, who supplies food to LEA Primary School B, Unguwan Rimi, said although every child was supposed to get an egg on Thursdays, most often the eggs do not go round the pupils because of the shortage in the number supplied.
“In fact, the last eggs we got before the school went on break was 16 pieces for over 225 pupils in the school, and this has been going on for a while; sometimes we get 25 eggs and sometimes 20.
“So, what we do is to give one egg to a child and when we get another supply the following week, we give to those that did not get the previous week,” she said.
Another vendor, Mrs. Alice Levi, who feeds some of the pupils at LGEA Angwan Keta Primary School, Tum, Kaura LGA, said: “I feed 50 pupils but usually get less than the required number.
“The situation is so bad that a week before schools went on vacation, we were given just 40 pieces of eggs to give to about 200 pupils in primary one to three.”
In his reaction, Mr Bature Bonat, the School-Based Management Committee Chairman, Kaura LGA, confirmed the development and described it as ‘very unfortunate’.
Bonat told NAN that the issue of eggs’ supply has remained a very big challenge to the implementation of the school feeding programme.
“We are expected to get about 500 crates of eggs for the entire schools in the LGA, but for a very long time the supply kept decreasing to as low as 180 crates.
“In fact, I collected the supply for the LGA a week before schools went on vacation and it was 300 crates instead of the required 500 crates.
“I reported to the Local Government Education Secretary (ES), but nobody seems to know where the shortage is coming from.
“Sometimes the suppliers claimed that they do not know the exact number of pupils enrolled in the programme in the LGA,” he added.
However, the supplier, Mr Eric Osademe, told NAN that he always supplied the quantity based on the amount he received from the state’s Egg Aggregator.
Osademe, who is the Public Relation Officer, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) Kaduna State Chapter, said: “What I am asked to supply is what I supplied and is usually 400 crates.
“It is only one time that I supplied 200 crates to the LGA because we were asked to supply half of what we usually supply to the various LGAs across the state.
“Again, last week I was asked to supply 300 crates but could only supply 200 crates because the farmer could only provide 200 crates, but we agreed with the SBMC chairman that I will supply the difference hopefully next week.”
When contacted, the state aggregator, Hajiya Binta Adamu, told NAN that Kaura LGA was supposed to get 430 crates of eggs weekly based on the money released by the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), Abuja.
Adamu, who is the Vice Chairman, PAN Kaduna, said that there was no excuse whatsoever, for any supplier to supply less than the allocated quantity of egg for every local government.
“In fact, I had to replace the person supplying to Kaura with Osademe, because of complaints that he was supplying between 200 and 250 crates, far below the expected 430 crates per week.
“Also, based on recent school enrolment, the LGA is supposed to be getting 570 crates, but it is yet to be updated by the NSI Office.
“I assure you that as soon as the update is done, Kaura will be getting the quantity it required,” she said.
Also, the Coordinator of the programme in the state, Malam Musa Daudu, noted that eggs supply was the major problem affecting the smooth implementation of the programme in the state.
Daudu, who is the Director Higher Education in the state Ministry of Education, explained that the state chapter of PAN was responsible for the supply of eggs to food vendors in the state at N30 per egg.
He added that money for the egg supply is being paid directly into the aggregators account from the National Social Investment Office, Abuja.
“we have sat with them and they have claimed that they are supplying the right quantity to all the LGAs.
“They however acknowledged that sometimes shortages occurred due breakages while transporting the eggs to the respective LGAs, which they claimed to replace the following week.
“But we equally received reports that some of the teachers in the schools were taking the eggs. We have confirmed it and they have been warned.
“In fact, we received a report of a Head Teacher, who cooked the eggs himself before handing them over to the cooks. We confirmed this and he was sanctioned,” he added.
The coordinator said that to address the problem, the ministry has directed all the education secretaries to supply the ministry with the actual number of pupils benefiting from the programme in their respective areas.
“This will determine the number of eggs expected to be supplied to every LGA and the benefiting schools.
“We have equally asked the education secretaries to inform the ministry in writing, the quantity of eggs received from the suppliers every week, so that we can determine where the shortages are coming from,” he said.
NAN reports that 1,069,140 pupils of primary one to three in 3,922 public primary schools across Kaduna state are getting free meal at N70 per day under National Home Grown School Feeding Programme.