Osun state home grown school feeding program: improving sustainability through increased local farmer participation

Osun state home grown school feeding program: improving sustainability through increased local farmer participation

 

The primary goals of Osun’s school feeding program (SFP) in Nigeria are reducing hunger and improving business prospects for the local agriculture sector. The major challenges, however, include securing ongoing funding and increasing local smallholder farmer participation. The current paper explores various options that allow Osun’s SFP to accomplish its goals while ensuring no disruption to the delivery of nutritious meals to the schools. Particularly, the paper highlights five key integrated areas that could facilitate the increase of small farmer participation in the SFP:

  • as an incentive for participation in the SFP, government subsidises can be provided to small farmer co-operatives for space in regional storage facilities
  • the menu designed and mandated by the SFP should be redesigned for flexibility that accounts for seasonality and regionally grown crops
  • in order to minimise disruption to the current system, an effective way to assimilate farmers is to facilitate negotiations with food vendors at co-op level
  • benefits for participating in the program should be relayed to the farmers through effective awareness and educational initiatives
  • it is recommended that the current governing systems for Osun’s SFP be redesigned to allow for increased accountability at both the school feeding program level and government agency level

The authors believe that such improvements will enable the program to be sustainable in the future.