WFP keen on transformation of Ghana’s agric, agribusiness …lauds Pre-Harvest event

Ms Yacoub

Ms Yacoub

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it is keen on working with all stakeholders for the transformation of Ghana’s agriculture and agribusiness into a more inclusive, equitable, climate-smart sector, oriented toward the improvement of the lives of rural poor food-insecure people.

In its message before the commencement of the eighth Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and conference slated for Tamale from October 3 to 5 it said the WFP was pleased to sponsor the Pre-Harvest event as it continues to link actors in the food value chain.

“We are particularly interested in its benefits to smallholder farmers who produce majority of the food in Ghana but remain among the most food-insecure livelihood groups,” WFP representative and Country Director, Ms Rukia Yacoub said in a statement issued in Accra on Friday.

“It is my ardent hope that the eighth Pre-harvest Agribusiness Event will indeed highlight agro-economic opportunities for farmers, agribusiness, input dealers, investors and financial institutions, sister UN agencies, civil society, government and non-governmental institutions, policy-makers, municipal and district chief executives, and others,” she said.

She said the WFP would lead discussions on sustainable agricultural warehousing and storage, post-harvest management, and food safety and quality standards, during the three-day conference.

Globally, she said WFP focuses its support to national governments on Sustainable Development Goals2 – Zero Hunger and 17 – partnerships.

The national Zero Hunger Strategic Review which was launched by President Nana Akufo-Addo, in May 2018, identified the triple burden of malnutrition, reduction of post-harvest losses, improvement of linkages between smallholder farmers and markets, enhancement of food safety in value chains, and mapping of food-insecure populations, as key gaps which need to be addressed to enable Ghana to achieve zero hunger by 2030.

“These gaps which are also reflected in the government’s policies, such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and One District One Factory initiatives, will be WFP’s focus areas from now until the end of our new Country Strategic Plan in 2023,” she said.

 

“Thanks to Canada’s invaluable partnership and funding, WFP has phased out of its traditional programmes in Ghana, into a new chapter of innovative integrated food security and nutrition programming, with the private sector at the centre,” she said.

Ms.Yacoub said two local industrial agro-processors in Kumasi and Sunyani have been funded and provided with technical expertise to enable them produce specialised fortified nutritious foods of international standards which help prevent malnutrition, particularly stunting among children.

She said 10,000 smallholder farmers in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions, have been identified for linking to these agro-processors as a market for their produce.

WFP she said was also focused on strengthening smallholder farmers’ capacities in post-harvest management and food safety and quality adding that “they have been profiled to determine their capacity and identify those immediately capable of meeting the requirements of food processors and other institutional buyers”.

“Ultimately, we hope that the food systems in Ghana will operate optimally, whilst the factories will be able to produce special nutritious foods for the West Africa sub-region and other markets. This will translate into increased markets and income for smallholder farmers, offering opportunities for them to break out of the cycle of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition,” she said.

By Times Reporter

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