Save people from being food-insecure

Between November and December 2020, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) conducted the 2020 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA) survey covering 65,309 households across districts of all the 16 regions of the country.

The survey, funded by the Government of Ghana and World Bank and supported by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, found that about 3.6 million people in the country (12 per cent of the population) are food-insecure.

The analysis of the data shows that majority of the food-insecure, constituting 2.8 million (78 per cent of the sample households), live in the urban area while the 0.8 million, constituting 22 per cent of the sampled households, live in the rural area.

It is important to note that people being food-insecure does not mean there is hunger in the country, but that people do not have food with the required nutritional value at the right time, price and place.

Being food-insecure, in simple terms, is lacking access to enough good, healthy, and culturally-appropriate food such that some households sometimes have difficulty providing enough food for all their members.

The situation disrupts food intake or eating patterns, which has its own health implications.

The experts have explained that being food-secure is a socio-economic (financial and cultural) problem.

It can, among other factors, be due to low income; joblessness; unavailability of certain food items in some communities; lack of high-quality and varied diets; disability or physical imitations; streetism; mismanagement of financial resources; and unexpected expenses such as those made on car maintenance and healthcare.

Obviously, being food-insecure has health consequences.

It is said, for instance, that when one does not eat at the right time, the immediate effect can be hypoglycemia, a drop in blood sugar that can cause fatigue, an irregular heartbeat and dizziness.

In the long term, nutrition experts say not getting adequate nutrients to the brain, muscles and organs over time can result in chronic medical conditions like cardiovascular diseases and even death.

With the causes and effects of food insecurity in mind, the Ghanaian Times wishes to appeal to the government to make good use of the data generated by the GSS to identify the district or community-specific causes and address the problems.

For instance, since climatic conditions would not allow the cultivation of every crop everywhere, the government must ensure even distribution of food items across the country.

The urban area is said to show the higher proportion of the problem.

This reflects the hardships in the urban areas of the country, which calls for equity in development to attract some of the people back to the rural areas.

Another problem to fix is low income. The truth is that some employers, especially those in the private sector, do not pay workers well, with a number of them even paying below the minimum wage.

Besides, there is the need for public education on the matter for individuals and households to be prompted to plan all their spending and to eat varieties of diets.

This paper is aware that the government is supporting vulnerable groups like the aged and the disabled to assuage their hardships.

However, such support needs improvement or enhancement once times grow harder.

Once being food-insecure is a health hazard, the state should do well to fight it because the country needs all its citizens to stay healthy for its development.

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