Thousands of milk packets bought for national school breakfast program wasted

Students taking breakfast provided through the "School Breakfast Program" | Photo: PSM News

Male’, Maldives – Thousands of milk packets that were brought for the school breakfast program has been thrownn away after the milk expired.

STO confirmed that the milk packets had to be thrown away as they were out of date. According to different sources, these packets were thrown away even though the chances of distributing these throughout the Maldives were present.

Some have expressed their concerns as having to throw a huge amount of milk packets is a big wastage of tax payers money especially during times like this where our economy has been drained. Others also stated that it is a mistake from the government’s side to allow this to happen while there are thousands of people who are trying to make their ends meet to whom these milk could have been distributed to. 

State Trading Organization (STO) supplies “Devondale” milk packets to the Maldives as per the Education Ministry’s order. Education Ministry then supplies these to schools around the Maldives through STO. 

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Maldives, all the schools were closed during March and was reopened in July. The estimated amount of milk packets brought for the breakfast program could not be distributed among students due to the outbreak. But sources say that they tried to get the permission from Education Ministry to distribute the packets before they expired, but due to the delay in reply, they were left to expire. STO was ready to distribute the milk packets with zero charges to the ministry’s side. Some of the milk packets were also distributed to the Covid-19 facilities.

The packets that were thrown away are expected to be the packets from the shipment brought after assuming when schools would re-open. Milk packets from an earlier shipment were distributed among the students by Education Ministry during June of this year which was the lockdown period. 

The Deputy Minister of Education Ahmed Mujahid was questioned on whether STO asked for permission to distribute the milk packets. In reply, he said that it is false information. STO also did not give any more details about this matter.