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Fortified Rice Distribution for School Meal Programme Launched

April 20, Colombo (LNW): The distribution of fortified rice, part of a school meal initiative spearheaded by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, kicked off at the Veyangoda warehouse complex under the auspices of the World Food Programme (WFP).

To combat iron deficiency among school children, fortified rice is being provided as a nutritious component of school meals. Oversight for this distribution falls under the purview of M.H.A.M. Riflan, Director General of the Partnership Secretariat for World Food Programme Co-operation (PSWFPC), operating within the Presidential Secretariat.

In its initial phase, 735 metric tons of rice are earmarked for distribution to provincial-level schools, beginning on the 19th and continuing on the 20th. This process is being closely monitored by officials from Provincial Departments of Education and Public Health Inspectors (PHIs).

Director General Riflan disclosed plans for further distributions, including 378.835 metric tons of dhal, 412.08 metric tons of sunflower cooking oil, and 300 metric tons of dates, to commence with the start of the new school term on May 19.

The Education Ministry has devised a comprehensive strategy to ensure all students in grades 1-5 receive a nutritious main meal at school. Students are provided breakfast between 7.30 and 8.30 a.m. daily, following recommendations from nutritionists.

Under the banner of ‘Healthy Active Generation,’ the 2024 school meal programme aims to address nutritional concerns, enhance school attendance, promote healthy eating habits, elevate educational achievements, and celebrate local food culture.

This year, the school feeding programme benefits 1.6 million students, encompassing primary students from 9,134 government schools, as well as smaller schools with fewer than 100 students. The government has allocated Rs.16.6 billion to provincial councils for this purpose, supplemented by support from entities such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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