The John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation has launched the “Ghana Zero Hunger” Strategic Review to identify the gaps in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) two on ending hunger.
The strategic review seeks to contribute to the government efforts to accelerate progress toward eliminating hunger and food security with subsequent effects on improving malnutrition which is consistent with the SDG two to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.
Mr John Agyekum Kufuor, the Lead Convener of the Review said that the foresight report by the Global Panel which was launched in Ghana last October during the Africa Nutrition Day has exposed the seriousness of malnutrition.
He said it is established that almost a third of children in developing countries were underweight or stunted, adding that the burden of disease risk factors linked to diet was higher than the combined risks of alcohol and drugs, smoking and unsafe sex.
He noted that in a recent study of hunger in Ghana, it has been estimated that in 2012 alone hunger cost estimated six per cent of the country’s GDP amounting to GH¢4.6 billion.
Mr Kufuor stressed that the cost resulted from the failure to address nutrition which had debilitating outcomes in terms of foregone productivity, decreased educational outcomes and increased health burden, adding that this loss should not be allowed to continue.
“As stated in the SDG targets, we must ensure that we have enough nutritious and sufficient food all year round; we must promote efforts to end malnutrition; we must increase agricultural productivity, and increase investments in agriculture for food security among others”, he said.
Mr Kufuor who is also a former President of the Republic of Ghana expressed his gratitude to the Executive Director of the World Food Programme for inviting him to serve in that capacity.
Mr William A. Quaittoo, Member of Parliament for Akim Oda who represented the Minister Designate for Food and Agriculture at the launch said the government had plans to distribute crops and fertilisers to farmers in deprived areas across the country.
He said the government would launch a “planting for food and jobs” campaign which promises to boost agriculture, adding that it is important for all to come on board to make these initiatives effective.
He said improved seeds would be imported and distributed among farmers to enhance issues on demand and supply, stressing that the farmers would be supported by various District Assemblies.
Speaking about the promises of the government to provide each village with a dam in the northern part of Ghana, Mr Quaittoo told the GNA in an interview that the government would execute its promises of constructing dams.
He said the sector has plans of taking agriculture into a mechanized form where the use of hoes and cutlasses would make way for tractors and other machinery.
Professor Baffuor Agyeman-Duah, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation said the Review has an Advisory Board Members and a Technical Team from the office of the President, Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Finance, Health, Education, Trade and Industry, Local Government and Rural Development.
He said representatives from other relevant agencies including the National Development Planning Commission, National Disaster Management Organisation, United Nations, World Food Programme, UNICEF, World Health Organisation, African Development Bank, USAID, Ghana Nutrition Association, Huger Alliance, Alliance for Green Revolution Africa, and Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa will also be part of the Board and Team.