Sunday, 12 June 2011

POVERTY: Ghana: US to assist smallholders’ farmers to escape poverty

11th June 2011
Over 860,000 vulnerable women, children and family members, mostly smallholder farmers, would be assisted over the next five years to improve upon their agriculture production to help fight hunger and poverty.
The programme is under the new US government intervention in agriculture to enhance food security in Northern Ghana.
The programme, which is led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) leverages the strengths of multilateral institutions, civil society and the private sector to assist 18 million vulnerable women, children and family members.
It would also reach over 324,000 children, improving their nutrition and preventing stunting and child mortality.
The Project known as “Feed the Future” is a 3.5 billion dollar US government’s global hunger and food security initiative, commitment to support country-driven approaches to address the root causes of poverty, hunger and under nutrition.
These is contained in a “Ghana fact sheet” on the “Feed the future” initiative issued by the US embassy in Ghana during the visit of the US Ambassador, Donald Teitelbaum, to Tamale on Thursday, to interact with some of the partners implementing the programme, under the Ghana Agriculture Development and Value Chain Enhancement Program (ADVANCE).
The partners are: Stabic Bank, Ghana Nuts, Karma farms, USAID, Tamale Implement Factory Ltd, and Ghana Grains Council.
The key objective of “feed the future” is to improve the livelihood and nutritional status of households in northern Ghana through: increasing the competitiveness of major food value chains, strengthening the resilience of vulnerable communities and households and improving the nutritional status, especially of women and children.
The document noted that Ghana showed an impressive growth and a record poverty reduction over the past twenty years, which made it an African success story with GDP growing from four percent to eight percent annually over the past decade.
This growth, which is expected to continue in the coming years, puts Ghana on track to reach the first Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty by half by 2015.
According to the document, Ghana also achieved an overall reduction in poverty rate, from 52 percent to 28 percent over the past ten years, but noted that, despite these progress, the northern part of the country still had poverty rates nearly twice that of the south.
“There is risk that poverty in the north will remain high and the income gap between the north and the south will further widen.
While Ghana has exhibited significant progress in agriculture, it still has a trade deficit of 70 percent in rice and 15 percent in maize, its top two staple crops.
The Consumption of both crops is predicted to grow, with the rise in incomes and high urban growth rate”, the document noted.

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