The Ministry of Agriculture plans to expand its ‘one cup of milk per child’ programme that targets school-going children, to fight malnutrition.
The programme, which was launched in May last year, has been running in Bugesera, Kamonyi Nyanza, Karongi Kakenke and Ngororero districts.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ernest Ruzindaza, said that the government’s intention is to provide milk to all schools countrywide.
“Our scale up programme involves adding more eight districts to make a total of 14 and increasing the number of schools from 30 to 100. Our aim is to provide (milk) to all schools in the country,” he said in an interview with The New Times.
“The scaling up programme will be gradual until all the school-going children in all the districts receive milk.”
He added that since the establishment of the programme, pupils now comfortably concentrate on classes unlike before.
According to the programme, each child drinks half a litre of milk twice a week.
The new districts added to the next phase of the programme include Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, Huye, Ngoma and Gisagara.
Previously, Savannah Dairy in Nyagatare and Nyanza Diary were the main suppliers of the milk but due to an increase in the beneficiaries, Inyange Industries has also been added to the list of suppliers.
Consequently, the scheme is also expected to provide a ready market among dairy farmers around the country.
Marcel Musaniwabo, the headmaster of Gisakura Primary School in Nyamasheke District, Western Province, yesterday welcomed the programme in his district, saying that some children had been dozing in class due to hunger.
“We normally face the problem of some students distracted in class because of hunger. But if the programme is going to be extended to our district, its welcome as it will help us,” he said.