Ministry spends $1.3M daily on meals


THE Ministry of Education spends an average of $1.3 million on school feeding meals per day, according to Ministry data. The ministry provides an estimated 88,000 lunches a day, spending about $10 on each, and 58,000 breakfasts at $7 each, Education Minister Anthony Garcia told reporters at a press conference yesterday at the Ministry on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

There are an estimated 150 caterers in the system and they are evaluated by the National School Feeding Programme every term. The Ministry acknowledged there is a “large amount of wastage” in the system and Chief Education Officer, Harrilal Seecharan, said the programme has managed to cut 4,000 excess meals.

He said the ministry had set up a committee to evaluate how the meals are prepared and distributed, including how to standardise monitoring and reporting of trends. Most of the wastage, he said, comes from extra food being prepared, without consideration for differences in attendance, like principal’s holidays and students on reduced schedules because of exams.

Meals are being evaluated, Seecharan said, to consider student tastes as well as efficiency in production. Local content in the menu us also being looked at to make sure maximum nutrition, as well as a steady supply of ingredients. The programme costs an average of $250 million a year, he said, although they have since cut $20 million for this year.


"Ministry spends $1.3M daily on meals"

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