The entire atmosphere was beautified with many glamorous colours of several schools’ uniforms, as the world marks World School Milk Day; they all converged to mark the day here in Ibadan.
The celebration was held today, Wednesday, September 28, at Dr. K.J Nwufoh Hall, Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology (FCAH&PT), Moor Plantation, Apata, in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The event, which was attended by many school pupils from various schools in Ibadan, was organised by the Dairy Association of Nigeria (DAN), in partnership with the National Agricultural Extension and Research Institute, South West Zone, Ibadan, and its honourable members.
The World School Milk Day is held all over the world on the last Wednesday of September, every year, to celebrate the benefits and success of school milk programmes; the first World School Milk Day was celebrated in September 2000 and has since become an annual event promoted by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations).
Speaking at the event, the Secretary General of DAN, who doubles as the Deputy Provost Administration of the FCAH&PT, Dr. Ogunlake Fumilayo Oladunni, said that the World School Milk Day is focused on students below age 18, and the programme has encouraged the government in her policies.
According to her, “The day is particularly focused on student below the age of 18 and this programme has encouraged governments to formulate a policy, in which students are given a pyrite or half pyrite of milk everyday they go to school in some countries like Australia, Canada, and the United State of America.”
Dr. Adewumi Adeshina, the Zonal Officer, National Agricultural Extension and Research Institute, who set the ball rolling, said the World School Milk Day should be celebrated as a convention, to create more awareness on the health benefits of the consumption of milk.
He said, “The world school milk day should be celebrated at convention; thereby creating the awareness of the health benefits of the consumption of milk, which is most beneficial to the students, especially at a time when Nigeria is talking about school feeding. I strongly believe that Nigeria needs to incorporate milk into the school feeding programme.”
Among the various schools that graced the occasion, Adekule Seun, an SS3 student from the Apata Grammar School, when asked the lessons learnt from the program, said, “I have been taught the uses of milk, how to take milk, the right ways to take milk and animals one can get milk from. I’ll inform my friends the significance of taking milk.”
Also, Oyebamiji Emmanuel, a student of Community Grammar School, said that he learnt that milk is a good nutrient that gives energy, prevents heart burn and diseases, contains vitamin A as well as calcium, which helps the strength of the teeth and the formation of the body.
The school milk programmes recognize the health benefits of milk; this healthy beverage contains lots of calcium, which helps children keep their bones and teeth healthy and strong.
In celebrating the day, free milk is distributed to students in schools; other activities include sporting events, distribution of educational and promotional materials, as well as celebrity visits to schools.
It also involves drawing and art competitions; dairy companies usually act as sponsors of the day’s activities and provide not only free milk, but also promotional materials such as, t-shirts, caps, pens, posters, etc., for the students.