This statement was delivered at the national event marking World Food Day to create awareness to combat the issue of hunger, and promote healthy diet.
World Food day is not only a reminder of the importance of food to every person on the planet. It is a call to action to achieve food security around the world.
Today almost 40 percent of humanity – three billion people – cannot afford a healthy diet. Hunger is on the rise. So too are undernourishment and obesity.
The economic impacts of COVID-19 have made a bad situation even worse. The pandemic has left an additional 140 million people unable to access the food they need.
At the same time, the way we produce, consume and waste food is taking a heavy toll on our planet. It is putting historic pressure on our natural resources, climate and natural environment – and costing us trillions of dollars a year.
As this year’s theme makes clear, the power to change is in our hands. “Our actions are our future”.
Madam Chair, honourable Ministers, despite significant progress towards reducing hunger, Ghana continues to be a food-deficit country in some commodities (rice, tomatoes etc.) with lingering and varied degrees of food-systems issues across inputs, production, transport, processing and manufacturing industries, retailing, and consumption of food as well as its impacts on environment, health, and society.
Pockets of hunger and malnutrition continue to exist primarily in some parts of Ghana, mainly in rural and peri-urban communities across the country. Despite stable progress in SDGs 1 and 2, the causes of the persisting levels of inequalities between the urban and rural parts of the country are rooted in high input cost, poor farming practices, poor road networks, week regulations, low standards by food vendors, limited access to processing facilities, low nutrition literacy, low capacity to produce healthy and sustainable food, unhygienic food environment to mention a few.
Last month, the world gathered for the United Nations Food systems summit. Ghana and other Countries made bold commitments to transform food systems.
As part of our efforts to help Ghana transform its food system, the UN country team contributed technical and financial support to Ghana’s 2021 food systems dialogues and the synthesis of issues and recommendations.
We are happy to note that Ghana’s Commitment Statement at the Summit outlined bold targets and clear actions and pathways to transform its food systems.
In addition to government’s flagship programmes such as planting and rearing for food, 1 village 1 dam, youth in agriculture;
let me take this opportunity to commend the government’s commitment to intensify efforts to ensure affordable access to safe and nutritious diets for the populace through integrated and innovative approaches from a range of disciplines, effective and coordinated inter-sectoral policies, together with multi-stakeholder engagement, research, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation.
Effective actions on these commitments will contribute towards achieving the SDGs, national development, and relevant continental targets.
Let me assure, that the UN, acting in collaborative partnership with other stakeholder, especially the private sector, will continue to support the government and the people of Ghana to implement these commitments to end hunger, enhance food security and nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture, in a manner that these actions urgently transforms Ghana’s food systems into a sustainable and resilient path; t o make healthy diets more affordable and accessible. And to make food systems more efficient, resilient and sustainable at every step – from production and processing, to marketing, transportation and delivery.
We can all change how we consume food, and make healthier choices – for ourselves, and our planet. In our food systems, there is hope.
On this world Food Day, we join the government and the people of Ghana, as we commit to take transformative action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals through food systems that deliver better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for every person.