First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has called for a renewed urgency in addressing challenges in the global food systems in order to reduce the staggering number of people affected by hunger, obesity and micro- nutrient deficiency.
According to Mrs. Akufo-Addo, who also doubles as Ghana’s African Leaders for Nutrition Champion, current statistics regarding global food systems are disturbing despite the progress made so far.
“It is quite obvious we may not achieve SDG 2 – Zero Hunger by 2030 neither are we on course to meeting the Global Nutrition Targets by 2025,” she said.
According to her, the Covid-19 pandemic has also exposed the weakness of the food systems indicating that it was time to build a resilient system that works and can withstand shocks.
“Access to safe, affordable and healthy diets is a basic necessity of life. Not acting simply means we are condemning a large portion of our population to misery and death. We are also toying with our national development agenda if we fail to act now,” she said.
The First Lady made the call during the launch of Ghana’s inception meeting in preparation towards the UN Food Systems Summit under the theme, “Towards Resilience for Improved Food Security and Nutrition.”
She said the inception meeting is yet another platform for Ghana, to build those robust systems that are needed to overcome challenges including stunting and wastage in children.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo also took the opportunity to laud the UN Secretary-General, in convening the Food Systems Summit, to find pragmatic solutions to a dire global situation and called for a collective action by all stakeholders for a strong inter- sectoral linkages and cooperation.
According to her, the collaboration will generate innovative forward- thinking intervention, to challenge existing policy framework.
“It is my prayer that all key stakeholders will get the opportunity to participate in all dialogues. I trust these dialogues will generate innovative forward- thinking intervention, to challenge existing policy framework in order to improve nutrition and promote healthy diets”.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in his address, said since 2017, the government has embarked on an agricultural transformation agenda, to address productivity issues to increase production and also increase incomes to farmers, scale up their businesses and also farmers access other needs.
He said having successfully implementing policies and programmes tailored at addressing problems of the agricultural sector including the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), “I have no doubt that investing in the five programmes will certainly lead us to the transformation that we seek.”
Mr Afriyie Akoto, however, noted that more needed to be done to improve productivity.
“We are still achieving 40% below potential yields. That is why we are doing soil mapping to increase efficient fertilizer application, partnering with private sector to manufacture fertilizer locally and intensifying extension to be more efficient in teaching farmers how to produce and market their produce,” he added
He added that the dawn of fixing the country’s food system is nigh and is bound to revolutionize agriculture and provide enormous opportunities especially for the youth who hold the keys to the future.
The Director General National Development Planning Commission, Kojo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa in his welcome address said all member-states of the United Nations are currently undertaking these dialogues in preparation for the UN Food Systems Summit which will be convened by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in September this year as part of the decade of action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
“The call for national dialogues gives us the all the opportunity to rethink our national food systems, share experiences and evolving new ideas that will help us transform the food systems and accelerate our collective goal of building a resilient world where no one is left behind,” he added.
Mr. Mensah-Abrampa said the dialogue therefore affords stakeholders a great opportunity to raise awareness and elevate the public discourse on how to reform our food systems, agree and ensure that pathways at the end of the process will be integrated into the next Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework which is currently under preparation.
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