Local schools turn to food rationing as prices rise

Economy

Local schools turn to food rationing as prices rise


Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) students at Ngurunit Primary School in Laisamis, Marsabit County are given porridge on July 18, 2019. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NMG

Schools are now rationing and changing menus as the prices of grain, wheat and other food items rise.

Rising food costs and continued supply chain disruptions are shrinking the menu for students across the country.

Some schools have been forced to withdraw or make substitutions to cope with the skyrocketing cost of key ingredients such as corn, beans and potatoes.

At Aiku Secondary School in Igembe sub-county, the cafeteria management and staff had to improvise. They used to offer three entries a day, but now there is only one.

“The price of maize per kilogram has increased, so we have replaced porridge with tea and coffee mixed together,” said Ms. Rose Mueni, the school principal.

Ms Mueni said the school can produce milk and therefore replace them with cheaper alternatives.

“For cabbage, we replaced it with kale (sukumawiki) which is cheaper and readily available in school gardens,” Ms Mueni said.

Schools have become one of the institutions most affected by the increase in food inflation in the country and the unavailability of food.

Some teachers say they have stopped extracurricular activities in schools due to a lack of funds.

“We have stopped all other activity at school, for example student projects, we have stopped so that we can focus on feeding and supporting students [in schools]said Ms Charity, also a school principal.

In some schools, there is only one main course a day and portions of food are rationed due to supply issues and soaring prices.

School principals denounce a tense school term as food products become more expensive for the sustainability of educational institutions.

They say they haven’t collected enough lunch tax to buy food and pay non-permanent staff.

Two headteachers said the food rationing had not been welcomed by students, but the situation was unavoidable.

Some schools have huge pending bills from suppliers of various food items, which has affected their business relationships with these companies.

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