Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
SOME grain meant for the school feeding programme in Matabeleland South Province was not collected from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots as some schools failed to raise transport fares during the third term.
Presenting a report during a Matabeleland South provincial drought relief committee meeting held in Gwanda, a Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education representative, Mr Zwelani Dube said schools in the province were allocated 1 532 tonnes of grain during the third term but collected 1 130 tonnes.
He said Umzingwane District was the worst affected as schools were allocated 134 tonnes but managed to collect only eight tonnes.
“This is an update on the school feeding grain collection for the third term. Beitbridge was allocated 258 metric tonnes and they collected 257, Bulilima was allocated 209 metric tonnes and they collected 98,3 while Gwanda was allocated 305 metric tonnes and they managed to collect all.
“Insiza District was allocated 247 metric tonnes and they collected 244, Mangwe was allocated 173 metric tonnes and they collected 86 metric tonnes, Matobo was allocated 204 and they collected 129 while Umzingwane was allocated 134 metric tonnes and they only managed to collect eight tonnes. Schools cited transport costs as the main challenge in collecting grain as transporters were charging in forex. This affected the school feeding programme as some schools had limited grain,” he said during the meeting last week.
Mr Dube said some transporters were charging R50 per bag and parents could not raise the money.
In an interview, Matabeleland South acting Provincial Education Director, Mr Lifias Masukume said there was a need for schools to engage other stakeholders to assist them to transport grain.
“There are some schools that are failing to raise money to transport grain from GMB depots to their respective schools. Such schools are urged to follow a coordinated approach. For example if the Social Services Department is transporting maize to communities under the drought relief programme, schools should take advantage of such a situation and make arrangements to have their grain transported in the same vehicle at the same time and then they can share transport costs,” he said.
“The truth is that parents can’t raise money for transport which is ever rising but grain has to be collected from depots and children have to be fed as that is Government policy. This coordinated approach will help to address this challenge.” [email protected]