More than 50,000 pupils from 48 primary schools across Mozambique’s Tete Province are benefiting from school meals as part of a project spearheaded by the World Food Program (WFP).The UN agency said by this scheme it aims to reduce the high drop-out rates from school in the country due to hunger.
Speaking on Thursday, Tete Provincial Governor, Paulo Auade during a meeting with representatives of NGOs in the region, said to ensure the implementation and success of the school meal program, WFP channels funds to district governments for the procurement of food items.
WFP partners on school meals programmes with some 40 countries in Africa, providing more than nine million school children annually with daily meals in school.
In some countries, WFP itself implements the school meals programme while in others it offers technical support to the government provider.
In most countries, WFP offers a combination of both services.
For five years, the school meal program runs in four districts namely Changara, Marara Cahora Bassa and Marara, affected by the negative effects of drought.
Many children continue to drop out of school in Tete to accompany their parents to farms, fish farming and charcoal production as a means of earning their survival.
To reverse this scenario, the WFP has drafted a solution to the problem, which consists in the provision of funds for the purchase of products for school snacks.
The governor of Tete, Paulo Auade, praised the initiative to provide meals in schools in the districts affected by the drought.
Harvests of the present agricultural campaign fell short of expectations in Tete, especially in the districts of to the south of the region, due to drought and crab pests.
This situation provokes the nomadism of the inhabitants, to stave off hunger caused by the lack of food.
Data released by the provincial director of Agriculture and Food Security in Tete, José Mendonça, point to the destruction of more than 30,000 hectares by pests.
Maize, sorghum, millet and vegetables are the most affected crops.
The combined effect of drought and fungus caterpillar plague affected more than 14,000 peasant families, especially in the districts of Mutarara, Dôa, Moatize, Marara, Chiúta, Mágoè, Cahora Bassa, Changara and Chifunde.