According to the outfit, as a deliberate policy, the government decided to use the Free SHS to support local farmers and the poultry industry.
It explained that mackerel and eggs have been part of the National Approved Menu for students since September 2017 when the Free SHS programme started and the situation has remained the same to date.
“Government decided that Mackerel be supplied by NAFCO, together with 17 other food items, which are described as non-perishable foods such as Cocoa Powder, Vegetable Oil, and Mackerel,” the outfit said in a statement.
The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, in a Facebook post, had alleged that the government, in January 2021, contracted one Lamens Ventures to supply imported Chinese mackerel to all SHS in Ghana.
The post further claimed that since the company started supplying the China mackerel, many schools have started doing one egg a week instead of three, previously.
The supply of mackerel to schools, Mr Asare said, has reduced egg consumption by 70% and created unemployment, especially among poultry farmers.
However, the statement explained that the schools were mandated to be in charge of the purchase of other items considered as ‘perishables’, which included eggs and fresh fish.
It said purchases under the perishables are done with a 30% budget given directly to the schools by the Ministry of Education.
“There has not been any policy that compels SHS not to buy eggs. The mackerel and eggs are not mutually exclusive. Schools can buy eggs if they so wish, in addition to the mackerel supplied by NAFCO.
“LAMENS had been one of NAFCO’s many licensed suppliers since the inception of the Free SHS programme in September 2017 and not just one emerging as being claimed by Mr Asare in the Facebook post,” the statement clarified.