Ghana makes significant gains against hunger, poverty– Report

This year’s foresight report from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (GPAFSN) indicates Ghana has made significant gains in fighting hunger and poverty over the years.

The report, titled “Food Systems and Diets:Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century’’ indicates Ghana is one of the few countries in the sub-Saharan Africa that met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1C targets on hunger and poverty reduction. 
It noted that the proportion of Ghanaians experiencing chronic hunger declined significantly from 47.4 percent in 1990-92 to below 5 percent in 2012-2014.
The report also stated that stunted growth, which is diet-related, has also reduced from more than 30 percent in 2003 to 18.8 percent just last year.
“Undernourishment in the country is reducing as GDP per capita continues to rise,” the report also noted.
The GPAFSN, usually referred to as the ‘Global Panel’, comprise of eminent and influential experts committed to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security. Ghana’s former President John Agyekum Kufuor is a Co-Chair of the panel.
The Global Panel lauded Ghana for its achievement saying “Ghana illustrates what can be achieved in improving nutrition through sustained political focus and effort.”
But the report also indicates there is still work to be done in the fight against child malnourishment as some 19 percent of children in Ghana are still malnourished.
It also stated that some 3 percent of children under age five are obese, while 15 percent of Ghanaian between the ages of 15 and 24 are also obese due to poor nutrition.
This is not unique to Ghana, as the report notes malnutrition is increasing across the Sub-Saharan Africa, with the number of stunted children under five years rising by 500,000 each year and chronic malnutrition causing approximately half of child deaths in 2015.
According to the reports, there will be 216 million undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 if nothing is done to improve nutrition in Africa.
The Global Panel is, therefore, calling on African leaders to increase investment in food systems in Africa to help improve child nutrition and avert the future danger.
They noted that by 2050 African food producers will have 1.3 billion more mouths to feed and that will put extreme pressure on the food system of the continent, so heavy investments in food systems now is imperative.
Speaking at the 7th African Day for Food and Nutrition Security Conference, former President JA Kufuor said nutrition is not just about feeding people, but about powering lives and the growth of individuals, communities and nations.
“If we do not reshape food systems to prioritise nutrition, we are missing an opportunity to create a strong, healthier and more prosperous future,’’ he said.
President of the African Development Bank and Global Panel member, Dr.AkinwumiAdesina said investing in nutrition,especially for mothers, infants and children will lead to enormous gains as good nutrition helps support the cognitive development in infant and children.
He said the economic impact of malnutrition is estimated to be as high as $25 billion per year, with countries losing between 3 percent and 16 percent of their GDP to malnutrition.
Dr Adesina, however, noted that some 15 African countries will be able to add $83 billion to their national income if they meet the World Health Assembly target by 2025.