The former President of Ghana, H.E John Agyekum Kufuor has expressed concern over the devastating effects of hunger and malnutrition on the lives of Africans in this 21st Century.
Globally, over a billion people go to bed hungry every day. Majority of these are from Africa, he stated.
Mr Kufuor made this known at the opening of the maiden West African Regional Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (WAAAHM) in Accra today.
According to the 2011 World Food Prize Laureate, food prices which are rising sharply are likely to increase these numbers. And there are many hundreds of millions more who, while not hungry, suffer the damaging impact of consistently poor diets.
For these families, there may be food on the table but what quality of food? Mr Kufuor quizzed, saying “Unfortunately, they have little choice over what they eat”.
The former President who was the guest speaker noted that the failures to provide sufficient and nutritious food have a devastating impact on health and development.
Mr Kufuor was quick to add that: “This starts in the very earliest days of life. The physical and mental development of unborn children is badly damaged, often irreversibly, if their mothers cannot eat properly”.
He observed that malnutrition stunts our children’s growth, increases their vulnerability to disease, and reduces their capacity to learn at school, adding “And, of course, all these feeds through into the wider economy with poorer productivity and performance”.
Mr Kufuor told that gathering that the challenges they are attempting to address today by harmonizing agricultural policies in the fight against poverty in West Africa are crucial and formidable.
They are not just about survival or fairness, but are at the heart of hopes for long-term social and economic development for our people, he stressed.
Without the solutions you are trying to contribute to, and the commitment from political leaders to put them into action, our ambitions for fairer and stable world be will be a mirage, the former President advised.
A Senior Forestry Officer at Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Sub-regional Office for West Africa, Fernando Salinas who read a speech for the FAO Representative to Ghana, Musah Saihou Mbenga welcomed all the networking and collaborative opportunities leading to the strengthening of the WAAAHM.
He was impressed by the initiative of the difference alliances coming under one umbrella to jointly tackle the problem of hunger and poverty in West Africa.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Kwesi Ahwoi called on the WAAHM to come up with a structure that would enable the National Alliances to play useful roles in the ongoing agricultural and food security reforms within the sub-region.

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