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Oct 17, 2013

Ghana self-sufficient in carbohydrate foods production


Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture on Wednesday said Ghana is now self-sufficient in the production of most carbohydrate foods such as maize, cassava, yam, cocoyam, sweet potatoes and plantain.

He attributed the achievement to the result of prudent agricultural policies pursued by the government and supported by the nation’s development partners.

Mr Humado made this known in Accra at a flag raising ceremony to mark the 33rd observance of world food day, on the theme: “Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition.”

It has the slogan: “Healthy people depend on healthy food systems."

He said: “We are about 55 per cent self-sufficient in the production of rice but the gap is closing every year due to our agribusiness policy that allows entry of both local and foreign commercial rice farmers into Ghana under our agribusiness programme.”

“For protein food, Ghana is again self-sufficient in the production of some plant proteins such as cowpeas and groundnuts while we need to step up production of soybeans. We have challenges with the production of adequate animal and fish protein but the situation is fast improving.”

Mr Humado observed that out of a total meat requirement of 300,000 metric tonnes per year, domestic production alone accounts for about 36 per cent.

He said of a total 800,000 metric tonnes of fish required for the country’s population, the current production level is 443,500 metric tonnes largely from fish aquaculture that has increased significantly in the past two years.

“Despite these achievements, Ghana is not resting on its oars and the objective now is to produce more fish food than needed to feed the growing population as well as the growing agro industry and for exports,” he stated.

He said despite these achievements, Ghana continues to have pockets of poverty, hunger and malnutrition especially in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions as well as in the peri-urban areas and parts of the southern savannah.

He explained that this showed clearly that food production alone is not the answer to reducing hunger and malnutrition.

Mr Humado said there are other factors beyond the domain of agriculture for ending hunger and malnutrition.

The Minister noted that the root causes of hunger and malnutrition are very complex and encompass the broader economic, cultural, social, political and physical environment.

“Addressing hunger and malnutrition therefore requires integrated action and complimentary interventions in agriculture, natural resource management, in public health and education and in broader policy domains,” he said.

Ms Pippa Bradford, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, said the programme is working with regional offices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and with the district assemblies, on projects such as rehabilitating of small dams and dug-outs and extending irrigation systems, which communities rely on for water for farming and crop production.

Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative in Ghana and Deputy Regional Representative for Africa said the international community has a big responsibility to play in creating the enabling environment so that everyone enjoys the human right to healthy food.

Source: GNA