Accra, Oct. 15, GNA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday reaffirmed its dedication to work with communities, civil society, governments and the private sector to end hunger in our lifetimes.
In a statement to mark World Food Day, which falls on Tuesday, WFP said over the last year, communities on almost every continent had felt the devastating impacts of high food prices, natural disasters, climate emergencies and conflict, which have exacerbated hunger and poverty.
Fortunately, working with partners across the globe WFP’s food assistance had brought hope and relief to millions, the statement said.
“WFP faces many challenges as we work to ensure that the hungry poor receive the right food at the right time,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.
“From the Sahel region stricken by the third drought in recent years, to unrest in the Middle East, to communities whose imported staple foods have become inaccessibly expensive, WFP delivers life-saving food assistance where it is needed most.”
The statement said in 2011, WFP reached almost 100 million people in 75 countries, including over 11 million children who received special nutritional support and 23 million children who received school meals or take-home rations.
“Here in Ghana, WFP supports the national school feeding programme, special nutritional programmes for vulnerable women and children, refugees, food for asset programmes which rebuild vital community infrastructure, and nutrition-linked income generating activities,” said WFP Representative/Country Director, Ismail Omer.
“Another key area of support is to smallholder farmers.” The theme of this year’s World Food Day is: “Agricultural Cooperatives – Key to Feeding the World.”
The statement said WFP worked with agricultural cooperatives and farmers’ organizations in many countries around the world, providing training to help improve crop quality, strengthen business practices and increase access to markets.
In particular, WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project had worked with more than 800 farmers’ organizations, comprised of more than one million smallholder farmers, in 20 countries to build capacity and maximize developmental impact of food procurement, it said.
“Under WFP’s P4P initiative in Ghana, some 1,500 smallholder farmers in 26 rice, cowpea and maize farmer organizations in Tolon Kumbungu, Tamale and Ejura Districts, have been trained and provided with basic equipment. We have also bought their produce for use in our food assistance programmes,” Mr. Omer said.
“Empowering farmer organizations enables them increase food production which benefits them as individuals and the country as a whole. Negotiating with one voice, they are better able to obtain fair prices for their produce, earn more money and consequently reduce their vulnerability to food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty and shocks.”
WFP celebrates World Food Day along with its sister UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The three Rome-based agencies often work closely together to invest in and boost the production of smallholder farmers and increase people’s access to nutritious food.