President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday said Ghana was on track to ending hunger and malnutrition, as government’s policies would facilitate agricultural productivity and grapple with food insecurity.
He was emphatic that his government’s vision to modernising agriculture and improving production efficiency and profitability for farmers, would enhance significantly Ghana’s food security and help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 2 of eliminating all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
President Akufo-Addo said this in Accra at the Launch of the Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report, organised by the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation and the World Food Programme.
The Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report seeks to bolster greater integration between food security and nutrition for the Ghanaian people.
The Report, an independent, analytical and consultative exercise initiated by the World Food Programme (WFP) to identify key challenges in eliminating hunger in countries it works in, aims to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2), which would help the country chart a viable path to ending hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition by 2030, is realised.
President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana had performed quite well in her efforts at reducing hunger. “Indeed, we were the first country on the African Continent to attain the Millennium Development Goal 1 of halving poverty and hunger, for which the country received an award for reducing the level of its malnourished population from seven million in the early 1990s to less than one million today,’’ he said.
The President noted that though Ghana had made strides in eliminating hunger, there was a lot more to be done to end malnutrition, obesity and micronutrient deficiency in Ghana. He said government’s Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies was geared towards the reformation of agriculture and industry.
These programme, to be spearheaded by initiatives such as the “Planting for Food and Jobs,” covering some 500,000 farmers this year, up from 200,000 last year; the “One District, One Factory” and the “One Village, One Dam,” would facilitate rural development and help achieve SDG 2 by 2030.
“Government’s vision is to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly enhancing agricultural productivity.
“The basic objective of policy is to guarantee food self-sufficiency, i.e. that we are able to feed ourselves and wean us off the disgraceful dependence on the importation of foodstuffs we can grow ourselves. We are determined to stand on our own feet – hence our mantra, Ghana Beyond Aid,” the President said.
Also, government was taking certain actions, including institutional measures, to prevent food losses such as the District Warehousing Policy, promoting the production and utilisation of locally grown and nutrient-rich food, strengthening early warning and emergency preparedness systems, and developing and implementing a nutrition strategy, which adopts a life cycle approach to deal with malnutrition at all levels.
Also included are the reviewing and scaling up the Regenerative Health and Nutrition Programme, eliminating child and adult obesity, and promoting research and development in Food and Nutrition Security to ensure food security.
Among these interventions, the President stated, was the empowerment of women as they played a key role in achieving food security and improved nutrition. Government, he said, had initiated women-specific programmes like reducing cultural and administrative limitations that impeded women’s access to productive resources, particularly access to credit and agricultural equipment, to facilitate the achievement of SDG 2.
"The MASLOC programme has, in this respect, been directed to disburse 50 per cent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and businesses. “Again, the Ghana School Feeding Programme, a happy product of the Kufuor era, which provides hot meals daily to pupils of public schools, has also been expanded from 4,881 institutions to cover 5,528 institutions.
“Our goal is to build a wealthy and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, which engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment. We are determined to build a new Ghanaian civilization, that will afford a dignified standard of living to all its people,” he said.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Review in Ghana was undertaken by a research team from the University of Ghana, University of Development Studies and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Former President Kufuor is the Lead Convener of the process, facilitated by the John A. Kufuor Foundation. The Report forms the basis for the WFP’s five-year country strategic plan in Ghana, which is built to support government’s flagship programme and agricultural policies.
The Report argues that ending hunger and malnutrition cannot 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 affects food and nutrition.
It 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.