Member of Parliament for St. Elizabeth North West, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says that the breakfast programme in the constituency will resume once schools reopen for face-to-face classes.
Students from 23 schools in the area will benefit from the initiative.
Mr. Hutchinson, who is also State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, was opening the State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives on September 21.
The breakfast programme was implemented as a pilot project some years ago and continued for over one year.
“The target now is that 80 per cent of the food items supplied to the schools will be locally produced, in order to ensure that our children will be given fruit juice instead of artificial juices and be provided with highly nutritious and tasty meals,” he said.
“All the fruits and some vegetables that would be subject to waste annually will be collected and processed into purée or juice. On this note, the principals and other stakeholders of the schools in the original breakfast programme have indicated that not only did attendance increase but there was marked improvement in the grades of students participating in the programme,” Mr. Hutchinson told the House.
He noted that “it is even more important now in helping to boost the immune systems of these young ones”.
Meanwhile the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has identified five schools in the constituency that will be assisted with funding for the breakfast programme.
Mr. Hutchinson said these schools will be part of a pilot, and based on the results, the FAO may expand the project to other schools throughout the island.
“The FAO will be working with farmers’ and community-based organisations (CBOs) in the areas where these schools are located, engaging them to supply produce needed by the schools,” he indicated.