Let’s use science, tech to ensure food security

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has called on Africans especially Ghanaians to recommit to the application of science and technology to ensure food security.

For him it was heartwarming to recognise Africa’s contribution to modern science and technology and that it was of an even greater importance for member states to use the opportunity to take a retrospective view of the unique situation.

Dr Afriyie made the call when he joined the array of eminent scientists and the scientific community on the occasion of the Africa Scientific Renaissance Day celebration organised by the Council for Science and Industrial Research- Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI) in Accra on Thursday. 

It was commissioned during the 46th Ordinary Session of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1987, for member states to commit to the celebration of Africa’s Day of Scientific Renaissance on June 30, every year.

The Scientific Renaissance was instituted for African nations to reflect the continent’s contribution to the development of modern Science and Technology and was this year held on the theme “Leveraging Digital Technology for Resilient Food System and Enhanced Food Security in Ghana.”

The Minister said the increased relevance of global drivers like climate change, urbanisation, and the globalisation of unhealthy diet, particularly in under-resourced African countries like Ghana, is rapidly making food insecurity an even greater determinant of health.

“It is against this background, that the MESTI through its agencies has outlined measures to assess and strengthen existing nutrition emergency responses, risk assessments, and early warning surveillance systems to ensure a coordinated multi-sectoral approach to minimise the shock during and after the pandemic.

“These measures borders on promoting local food production and consumption, creating food and nutrition database for better emergency preparedness planning, supporting local industries with technical skills and technologies to process diverse nutritious food products and provide evidence-based guidelines for food consumption”  He stated

Dr Afriyie said the Ministry placed greater emphasis on food sovereignty, self-reliance, exploring diversification of crop production activities and the scaling up of underutilised crop species that were healthy and culturally accepted.

Professor Charles Tortoe, the Acting Director of CSIR-FRI referencing the Ghana-2020 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability said a total of 3.6 million people in the country were food insecure.

Out of the total per cent he said 18.2 per cent of Ghana’s rural population was food insecure, out of, which 7.3 per cent was severely food insecure.

He called for the need to develop and strengthen partnerships across disciplines and sectors to ensure food security.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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