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.