The county government of Busia has launched a feeding program for young learners in the Early Childhood Development sector.

Dubbed the Nutri – Care school feeding program, the initiative seeks to boost nutrition and enhancing high enrolment among the learners

While presiding over the event at Busia Polytechnic grounds last Thursday, Busia governor Dr Paul Otuoma noted that the program will improve nutrition as well as enrolment among the ECD learners in the county.

“In Busia, we have almost 50,000 ECD learners in 460 public institutions across the county. This program is geared towards improving nutrition as well as increasing enrolment to the ECD learners across the county,” said Dr Otuoma.

According to him, his government has set aside Sh30 million for the feeding program and sustainability purposes adding that they are partnering with other stakeholders including farmers to allow the program to last longer.

“In the current financial year, the county has set aside sh30 million for this feeding program, and in terms of sustainability, we are bringing on board various partners to make this program sustainable.”

He added, “You are all aware that poor nutrition is one of the main causes of challenges that we are facing as a country. According to the UNICEF report on our health, we are having a problem of stunted growth of our children at 15 percent because of poor feeding habits.”

He revealed that as a county they intend to cushion the nutritional requirements, appealing to the parents to play their role at home.

“The spirit of the county government is to cushion our people on the nutrition requirements. As we try to play our part in schools, I urge parents not to forget their part at home. As we do this let us continue to partner in our homes after school,” he explained

Otuoma said through the ward economic revitalization program, the county intends to make Busia a food-secure county.

“We are a food deficit county and this cannot be happening. That is why we have come up with ward-based economic revitalization programs to feed ourselves. The gesture of feeding our children must be linked to farmers. The future of this county in food production relies on the farmers,” he explained.

The governor noted that through community health promoters they are collecting data across the county to have exact data on nutrition to enable the county to address the nutritional problem without guessing.

“Through community health promoters, we want data collected so that there is no guesswork in dealing with nutritional problems in our homesteads so that we link data collected to the policy levels to develop programs that support nutritional issues.” Said Dr Otuoma.

He revealed that as a country they will support farmers to enable them to produce enough food adding that the country at large spends more than 500 billion shillings annually to import food that meets the country’s demand.

“As a country, we must go the extra mile to make sure that our farmers are supported to produce food and Busia County is not excluded. If you look at the kind of money that this country spends on food importation is almost 500 billion shillings. If we rethink and support our farmers to produce that food I am sure we will save a lot of money that is being used to import that food,” he explained.