Redouble effort in curbing hunger

BY: Daily Graphic
Redouble effort in curbing hunger
Redouble effort in curbing hunger

End hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture are part of the Sustainable Development Goal Two (SDG 2) that seeks to end hunger.

Rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity over the past two decades have seen the proportion of undernourished people drop by almost half.

These are significant achievements in reaching the targets set in the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a huge barrier to development in many countries.

Some 795 million people were estimated to be chronically undernourished as of 2014, often as a direct consequence of environmental degradation, drought and loss of biodiversity. Over 90 million children under the age of five are dangerously underweight and one person in every four still goes hungry in Africa.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim at ending all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people, especially children and the more vulnerable, have access to sufficient and nutritious food all-year round.

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This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices, improving the livelihoods and capacities of small-scale farmers and allowing equal access to land, technology and markets.

It also requires international cooperation to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity.

Last Tuesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report which is aimed at ensuring the realisation of SDG 2, which will help the country chart a sustainable path to ending hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

While paying tribute to the principal architect of this feat, former President John Agyekum Kufuor, who, in 2011, received the World Food Prize for cutting hunger by half during his tenure as President, President Akufo-Addo noted that much work needed to be done to end hunger, malnutrition, obesity and micronutrient malnutrition in Ghana.

Despite progress made over the past few decades to end hunger, many of our citizens are malnourished and need urgent attention.

We daresay that majority of the hungry people in the country live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their survival.

However, their livelihoods are often constrained by limited access to resources, services, technology, markets and economic opportunities, lowering their productivity and income.

Fast population growth, increasing conflicts, civil insecurity and climate change exacerbate the situation, while the poor are invariably the most vulnerable.

The large army of unemployed youth is a warning sign that the country needs to step up its efforts and find new ways of working with its partners towards ending hunger in Ghana.

For us at the Daily Graphic, ending hunger is both a moral and an economic imperative, and with strategic, concerted efforts, it is a dream that is possible by 2030.

We need to build resilience to shocks, including adapting to the effects of climate change, strengthening institutional response mechanisms and sustained and sustainable development to enable us to deal with disasters and address food insecurity more effectively.

We also suggest that the government harmonise governance of food security and nutrition by harnessing coordination efforts across sectors and among stakeholders in the country and on the continent.

Furthermore, we must step up investment in agriculture and increase agricultural productivity through higher levels of irrigation, technology and value addition.

With these, and our effort to keep up the momentum and redouble current energies in a coordinated, integrated and aligned approach, we can surely enhance food security and curb malnutrition.