The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday donated equipment and funds worth about GH¢1million to the Statistics, Research and Information Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to help them assess data on food security.
The items included laptops, mobile phones, tablets, internet modems, a video conferencing facility, large screen television and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks and sanitisers.
Presenting the items to the Ministry in Accra, the WFP Representative and Country Director, Rukia Yacoub explained that the donation was to support a rapid assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on household food security and food prices in the country.
She noted that many people across the globe were hit by the pandemic and there was the need for the country to assess the data on agriculture produce in order to secure lives.
Ms Yacoub stated that despite increase in food production through the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, much concern had been raised on the ability of people to buy food.
“Several people’s income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and so despite the increase in food production, there is a lot of concern about people’s ability to buy the food they need for themselves and their families,” she added.
Ms Yacoub promised to partner with other institutions to support the ministry to undertake a nationwide comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis.
That, she said would provide detailed account on “who the food insecure are, why they are food insecure and where they live” to help policy makers to know where they need to allocate resources.
Receiving the items on behalf of MoFA, the Director of Statistics Research Information Directorate, Mr Harrison George Opoku thanked World Food Programme for the gesture and said the items would be used for its intended purpose.
He explained that the items would be distributed to the field workers in 32 districts that the ministry would initiate the one-year pilot research to gather information.
“The information that will be gathered will be used to develop monthly food security bulletins which will be disseminated to partners in the food security and nutrition sector in response to numerous requests for information since the onset of COVID-19 in Ghana,” Mr Opoku said.
Robert Ankobea, Acting Chief Director of MOFA said the items had come at the right time and would help in remote research to secure the researchers from contracting the virus.
He observed that the outbreak of the pandemic has had devastating impact on the economy of countries worldwide and expressed thesector Minister’s gratitude for the gesture.
Mr Ankobea said the response to their quest for support was timely and reiterated the minister’s commitment in putting the items into good use.
“The contribution will help develop the country’s agricultural sector and also help the researchers to come up with reliable data to help the ministry make necessary interventions,” he added.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE