Kumasi, Sept 19, GNA – The World Food
Programmes (WFP) has launched a US$15 million project in support of Ghana’s
effort at tackling pervasive problems of malnutrition.
This comes against the backdrop of the
unacceptably high economic cost to the economy.
The nation, according to the Cost of Hunger
for Africa (COHA) 2016 report, loses GHȼ4.6 billion, representing 6.4 per cent
of the Gross National Product (GDP) due to child undernutrition.
Ms. Magdalena Owusu Moshi, WFP’s Deputy
Country Director, said the project known as, “Enhanced Nutrition and Value
Chain (ENVAC)”, was targeting five regions – Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Upper East,
Upper West and Northern Regions.
It is estimated to benefit in excess of 77,000
people including children, pregnant and lactating women, smallholder farmers,
industrial processors and community level small-scale fortified food processors
in five years.
She said under the ENVAC, the world body was
going to provide inputs, equipment, agriculture infrastructure and training to
farmer-based organizations, nucleus farmers and aggregators of agriculture produce
across the selected regions to produce good quality cereals and pulses.
Selected processors would also benefit from
capital investment to enhance their capacity to process raw materials into
nutritious food commodities.
“Throughout its life-cycle the project will
target; two industrials food processors, 30 community level small-scale
processors, two community level small-scale maize and stable processors.”
Ms. Moshi said they would facilitate linkages
between food producers and a selected group of industrial, medium to small
scale level food processors to help increase incomes, improve food security,
poverty reduction and enhanced smallholder farmers’ market integration.
She again spoke of collaboration with the
Ghana Standards Authority, Food Research Institute, Food and Drugs Authority,
the universities, public and private laboratories.
She indicated that the success of the project
would provide a model, which could be replicated by the government and other
development partners to achieve zero hunger nationwide.
Ms. Moshi acknowledged the progress Ghana was
making towards improving nutrition but said a lot of work remained.
“Stunting across the country has reduced by 19
per cent but in the Northern Region, one in three children, is stunted. Anaemia
and other micronutrient deficiencies continue to affect high percentages of
children and women with dire consequences”, she added.