A new study report, dubbed “Addressing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2: The Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review”, has identified gaps and proposed a roadmap to ensure Ghana achieves Zero Hunger by 2030.
The report said everyone living in Ghana could have adequate and nutritious food throughout the year, if there was a stronger integration between the pillars that affect food security and nutrition, under the leadership of the government.
The 86-page report was launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday in Accra.The Zero Hunger Strategic Review is an independent, analytical and consultative exercise which the World Food Programme (WFP) has initiated globally, to identify the key challenges to achieving zero hunger in countries where it works.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Review in Ghana was undertaken by a research team from the University of Ghana, University for Development Studies and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor is the Lead Convenor of The Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review process, which is being facilitated by the John A. Kufuor Foundation.
The report argues that ending hunger and malnutrition could not be achieved without a holistic approach that hinges on improvements in agriculture, and other sectors including nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, gender and social protection that directly or indirectly affect food and nutrition.
It said despite significant reductions in food insecurity since the 1990s, hunger and malnutrition remain a real concern in parts of Ghana, especially in the northern regions and among rural and peri-urban communities.
The report said comprehensive action was required to overcome these challenges, hence the recommendation for a food security and nutrition advisory board at the Office of the President to embed this as a cornerstone of national development.
The report highlights the need for the production and consumption of foods which are rich in nutrients.It said apart from the increase in the production of maize, there had been a decline in production of traditional nutritious staple foods such as sorghum, millet, groundnuts and cowpeas over the past decade.
Former President Kufuor said: “As we seek to achieve zero hunger in our country, we should always remember that food production must be nutrition-sensitive.”“It is more important for food to nourish the body than simply fill the stomach,” he added.
Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning, said “Eliminating hunger and malnutrition forms the basis of achieving other development goals and therefore we are committed to implementing the clearly thought out actions identified in the roadmap of this Strategic Review.”
Dr Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the Ministry was collecting data on agriculture, which would go a long way to inform decision and policy making in the sector.Dr Christine Evans-Klock, United Nations Ghana Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme Resident Representative, commended Ghana for the significant strides that it had made in reducing food insecurity and malnutrition over the years.
“We have celebrated Ghana’s success in achieving the Millenium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger,” she added. Mr Abdou Dieng, WFP Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said “We are using this review as the basis for WFP’s five-year country strategic plan in Ghana which is built to support the government’s excellent flagship programmes and agricultural policies.”
He said in the new programme, the WFP works more closely with the private sector to reduce post-harvest losses and malnutrition using a market-based approach which would be self-sustaining.
Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, President of the Ghana Nutrition Association, and Prof Saa Dittor of the Department of Climate Change and Food Security at the University for Development Studies, jointly presented an overview of the report.