The World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a five-year integrated agriculture and nutrition project to assist prevent malnutrition among children and pregnant women in Ghana.
The project, known as “Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chain” (ENVAC) is being implemented with funding from Global Affairs Canada.
It offers an innovative market-based approach to tackling malnutrition and under it about 10,000 smallholder maize, soybean, cowpea, and millet farmers in five regions – Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West have been targeted to be linked to industrial agro-processors.
Ms. Magdalena Owusu Moshi, acting WFP Representative and Country Director, said grains and cereals from the farmers would be used to produce specialized nutritious food by Premium Foods Limited and Yedent Food Processing Company for distribution to pregnant, women, nursing mothers and children aged between six and 23 months.
People living with HIV/AIDS and on antiretroviral therapy, are also going to benefit.
She indicated that the goal was to give strong support to the government to help achieve zero hunger – the Sustainable Development Goal ‘2’ by year 2030.
She said although significant progress had been made to bring down stunting to 19 per cent at the national level, the condition continued to be high in the three Northern Regions.
One in three children in these places is stunted and faces physical and cognitive challenges which could prevent them from achieving their full potential.
The WFP Director said the success of the project would provide a model which could be replicated by the government and other development partners to achieve zero hunger nationwide.
Ms. Heather Cameron, the Canadian High Commissioner, said the initiative formed part of Canada’s larger effort to promote food security, nutrition and agricultural development in Ghana.
“By working with farmers and the agro-industry, this project will support the government to increase manufacturing and create jobs in the agriculture sector”.
ENVAC, she noted, would help to ensure the availability, affordability and consumption of more nutritious foods.
Mr. George Oduro, a Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, hailed the project, as a bold step in support of the promotion of national food security.