By Kampala Post Reporter
JINJA. The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has expressed doubt that children can be able to grow food in the School gardens to feed them at lunch time throughout the year without losing on the time they spend in class studying.
The First Lady, who was in Busoga region for the School Feeding and Nutrition Campaign, was speaking late last week during the Television Talk show hosted by BABA Media Group in Jinja. She was accompanied to BABA TV Studios by the MP Jinja Municipality West and proprietor of the station Hon. Moses Grace Balyeku, the State Minister for Lands and MP Bukono Hon. Persis Namuganza, the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs and MP Bugabula North Hon. Moses Kizige, Jinja District Chairman Titus Kisambira and the Commissioner for Secondary Schools in the Ministry’s Directorate of Education Standards, Benson Kule Baritazale.
While commenting about an issue raised by the Moderator Michael Kifubangabo of School Children of Nsoola Primary School in Namutumba District who together with their teachers are involved in growing the food the school feeds them on at lunch time, Mrs. Janet Museveni said “I don’t necessarily encourage that because of my fear that the children may be found to be putting in a lot more time in the garden growing food than in classes studying. This looks like it may bring more problems than solutions.”
Mrs. Museveni pointed out that it is good to teach the children agriculture for their adult life, but to make the children grow the food they are to eat at school would be putting a big burden on them.
“For me I think that the best option for people who live in rural areas is for parents to pack lunch for their children to eat at school because it is sustainable and the most affordable and it enables parents to choose what ones’ child gets to eat,” she said. She counselled them that this is not a shameful thing as they may think saying that even parents in modern and civilized countries pack lunch for their children because they don’t want to allow other people to choose what their children will eat.
She told the people of Busoga that other options available include those parents especially in towns who can, to pay money for the meals at school and those children who stay near the school to return home for lunch.
She said that if a child stays the whole day at school without having lunch, it is wrong to expect that child to be attentive in class and to also do well in exams and pass.
“When you talk about school feeding, people think that it requires buying food that they don’t have, which is not the truth because the food we are talking about include the cassava, matooke, potatoes, maize, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruits which people grow in their home gardens,” she said.
She added that all leaders have a stake in what is happening to the children in the country and persuaded them to keep on reminding the parents about the vital responsibility of taking care of their children that they have neglected.
Earlier before the Television Talk show, the First Lady met with the leaders from all the Districts of Busoga region who were mobilized by the MP Jinja West Moses Grace Balyeku. They included MPs, LCV Chairmen, Mayors, RDCs, Chief Administrative Officers, Town Clerks and District Education Officers and they discussed issues pertaining to the region.
She observed that Busoga region cannot continue to mourn about their problems but they have to endeavor to solve them and the leaders must take the lead.
She urged the leaders to be bothered with the trend in the community because they are supposed to be the eyes of the communities.
She advised the leaders that fighting poverty must start with fighting hunger at the family level because a hungry person cannot think about anything else. She urged them to carry out a campaign in their region to ensure that families have enough food to eat and store the surplus for a bad day.