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Food insecurity threatens 3 northern regions


More than 680,000 people in the three northern regions are still considered as severely or moderately food insecure.

The number represents 16.08 per cent of the 4,228,116 of the population of the three northern regions.

This means they are unable to access nutritious food which is enough for their needs. This may be because food simply isn’t available due to insufficient production.

The situation is despite efforts by various stakeholders to help improve the food security situation in the three northern regions of the country.

The highest proportions of food insecure households are in the Upper East Region where 28 per cent of them are either severely or moderately food insecure.

This compares with 16 per cent in the Upper West and 10 per cent households in the Northern regions.

The Wa West, Central Gonja, Talensi-Nabdam, Kasena-Nankana West and Kasena-Nankana East have also been identified as the five districts with the highest proportion of severely and moderately food insecure households in the area.

Wa West, with a population of 81,348, has the highest proportion of either severely or moderately food insecure households of 42 per cent with some 82 per cent households as the two poorest, thus making it the poorest district by wealth index.

These were disclosed at a dissemination workshop on comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Tamale last Tuesday. It was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and AusAID.

The report is the first of its kind to present an in-depth analysis of the food security situation in each district in the three northern regions.

Participants included regional and district directors of agriculture in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

Also present were some officials from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), Department for Community Development and Social Welfare and NGOs.

The report also stated that, “despite an overall increase in Ghana’s wealth and development in recent years, the three regions have continued to record higher incidence of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition.”

While about 98 per cent of food insecure households are highly reliant on maize and millet, those who were found to be food secure consumed a wider variety of staples including rice, wheat, cassava, tubers and plantains.

Household food security is classified into two indicators. The Food Consumption Score (FCS) combines diet diversity, frequency of consumption and the relative nutritional importance of different food groups and a wealth index that is based on asset ownership and housing conditions.

The findings further indicated that 88 per cent of households in northern Ghana relied on crop cultivation as their main livelihood activity, while food insecurity appeared more prevalent in rural than in urban areas.

According to the findings, even though the causes of food insecurity could be said to be broad, it identified poverty, agricultural limitations, seasonal challenges and high costs of food as some of the major challenges.

The Deputy Country Director of the WFP, Ms Magdalena Moshi, further observed that, “the main challenges to food insecurity revolve around issues of inequitable distribution as opposed to unavailability.”

She recommended that all stakeholders in the food security and nutrition sector intensify their advocacy on the situation in Northern Ghana based on the findings of the report.

“It is vital that a food and nutrition security commission be established at the national and regional levels to co-ordinate activities within this sector.

It is further recommended that the relevant ministries, particularly the MoFA, work closely with the WFP to enable them to effectively analyse and monitor the food security situation across the country,” she said.

Source: Daily Graphic



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