FAO, IFAD and WFP Executive heads in joint visit to Northern Ghana

Published on 12 May 2006

Amid growing calls for reform and coherence among United Nations partners, the heads of the three Rome-based food and agriculture agencies demonstrated their determination to strengthen joint efforts to reduce hunger and poverty at the grassroots level by visiting Ghana’s food insecure northern region this week.

Amid growing calls for reform and coherence among United Nations partners, the heads of the three Rome-based food

With the right political will, there will be many success stories in Africa

FAO Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf

and agriculture agencies demonstrated their determination to strengthen joint efforts to reduce hunger and poverty at the grassroots level by visiting Ghana’s food insecure northern region this week.

 

While in Ghana, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and WFP reviewed joint initiatives in support of the Government’s efforts to attain food security for the country’s entire population.

“These initiatives include the Special Programme for Food Security, to be upscaled to a National programme, and farmers’ field schools, with strategies and programmes to ensure that investment is targeted towards the food and agriculture sectors,” said FAO Director-General, Dr. Jacques Diouf during the joint visit to development projects in the Northern Region.

Political will

“With the right political will, there will be many success stories in Africa. I think that we have to learn from this success story of Ghana,” Dr. Diouf said.

Ghana, with a population of 21 million people, is among the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to have reached and even surpassed the 1996 World Food Summit goal of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by 2015.

Between 1990-92 and 2001-2003, the number of hungry people fell from 5.8 to 2.4 million - a 59 percent reduction. However, pockets of food insecurity remain in certain areas, including the northern region around Tamale, visited by the three UN leaders.

Shared vision

FAO, IFAD and WFP share the vision of building a food-secure country through a twin track approach: provision in the short term of assistance to hungry households to meet their education, health, and nutrition needs and building medium and long term sustainable livelihoods through agricultural and rural development.

The news is less positive for many other countries in the sub-region home to about one third of the world’s chronically hungry.

“The impact of hunger and malnutrition takes its most severe toll on children," said WFP Executive Director, James Morris.

School feeding in Ghana

"The greatest nutritional impact can be achieved by integrating school feeding programmes with early child survival and development interventions. We commend Ghana's commitment to launch a national school feeding programme and to sustain the WFP-supported early childhood nutrition and education programmes, using local production, which stimulate local production and markets for Ghana's farmers, many of whom are food insecure,” he said.

Three quarters of the world’s 1.1 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their survival.

“Investing in agriculture and rural development can not only boost the standard of living for poor rural women, children and men, but can spur economic growth for an entire region,” said .

“Rural poverty programmes can also contribute to the effectiveness of other organisations that support education, health, governance and other services.”

A common strategic approach