Experts brainstorm on food, security

A national stakeholders workshop on Building Research Capacity in Sustainable Water and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa (BRECCIA) was held in Accra yesterday.

The day’s workshop aimed at highlighting issues on food and water security in the country and how institutions could leverage on impactful research to improve the sector and citizens livelihood.

Funded by the United Kingdom through its Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), the four-year project would strengthen research capacities in two other countries including Kenya and Malawi.

In Ghana, the project would be implemented by the School of Public Health and the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana (UG).

Participants including government officials, development partners’ community and opinion leaders, farmers, researchers, academia and civil society organisations working in the food and water sectors converged at the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, UG, for the inception workshop on the project.

Project Co-Investigator, Professor Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe at the meeting explained that the emergence of dry lands coupled with climate change posed a threat to food and water on the sub region hence the need to devise strategies through quality research to sustain the commodities.

“We used to consider the northern portions of Ghana as dry lands but now the coast particularly the eastern part of the country are becoming dry areas which is having a toll on water and food production.

“Due to climate change we are now moving from a bimodal pattern to unimodal pattern which is becoming a serious challenge we need to begin tackling,” he said.

According to the Prof. Cudjoe, BRECCIA would deliver impactful programmes through capacity building, partnerships and targeted research to ensure sustainable water and food supply in the country.

“A major challenge to food insecurity for instance are our taboos and cultural beliefs whereas we are moving into a unimodel pattern some cultural practices frown on eating some foods or plants because they could cause a misfortune.”

Prof. Cudjoe believed “when people are educated and sensitised on such practices especially when we are able to prove through scientific research that such foods are not harmful as they have believed then we could allow for variety of food to feed our people”.

He further noted that the research would rope in key stakeholders at the national and district levels to policy planning and implementation as well as encourage innovation in the field to sustain the provision of quality water and food particularly in deprived areas of the country.

Mr. Mawuli Dzodzomenyo, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Public Health noted gaps in consistent quality food and water supply across the country as a result of poor transport system to and from food hubs, post-harvest losses among others.

Lauding the research initiative, Mr. Dzodzomenyo stressed that not only would the intervention ensure sufficiency of the commodities, but contribute to a holistic socio-economic growth.

Other participants who shared their views on the project underscored the immediate need to strengthen efforts at addressing water and food insecurity in the country for coming generation.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH AND ALLIA NOSHIE

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