Florence Afriyie Mensah, GNA
Kumasi, Sept 21, GNA – The Canadian
government has made available US$ 15 million in support of efforts at addressing
stunting and micronutrient deficiencies among children, pregnant and nursing
mothers in the country.
This is being done through an innovative
project, launched by the World Food Propramme (WFP), linking smallholder
farmers to local industrial private sector food processors, for the production
of special fortified nutritious foods.
In excess of 77,000 people across five
regions – Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West and Northern, would
benefit from the five-year Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chain (ENVAC) project.
This comes against the backdrop of the huge
cost to the economy due to child undernutrition. Ghana reportedly has been
losing US$ 2.4 billion through inadequate and poor nutrition for pregnant women
and children under two years.
Ms. Tina Guthrie, Senior Director,
Development, Canadian High Commission in Accra, speaking at the project’s
launch in Kumasi, said her country recognized nutrition as indispensable to
Providing nutritious food for the most
vulnerable, she indicated, “is a cornerstone of poverty reduction effort”.
She underlined Canada’s strong conviction
that Ghana’s thriving private sector could be increasingly harnessed as a
driver for the nation’s socio-economic development.
“This project will strengthen the capacity
of private producers and processors to increase their production, improve the
quality of their products and expand their domestic and international market
share”, she added.
Ms. Magdalena Owusu Moshi, Country Director
of the WFP, said although Ghana had made gains in reducing malnutrition, a lot
remained to be done.
She stated that “aneamia and other
micronutrient deficiencies continue to affect high percentages of children and
women with dire consequences”.
“Focusing on child undernutrition,
especially on providing adequate nutrition during the 1,000 day window of
opportunity which is the critical period from conception till a child’s second
birthday, impacts children’s health as well as the country’s economic and
She therefore asked that nutrition was made
an urgent priority on the national development agenda.
Mr. Samuel Ntim, Chief Executive Officer of
Yedent Agro Food Processing, applauded Canada, which through Global Affairs,
Canada (formerly Canadian International Development Agency – CIDA), had shown
strong commitment to the fight against malnutrition and food insecurity.
The project launch brought together
officials and experts from the Food and Agriculture Ministry, Ghana Health
Service, Food Research Institute, United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), Technoserve, Catholic Relief Services, Farm Radio
International, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Private