Building food, nutrition security responsibility for all - FAO

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Maria Helena SemedoThe Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) regional representative for Africa, Ms Maria Helena Semedo, has reminded countries in the sub-region that building a food and nutrition security in Africa is the responsibility of all.

That, she said, required an essential commitment for all to work together in a cohesive and strategic way, not only internally but also and foremost with stakeholders and member states.

Ms Semedo, an Assistant Director-General of the FAO, was speaking at the 6th FAO West African sub-regional office multi-disciplinary and management team meeting in Accra Monday.

She said the meeting represented a unique opportunity for all those working in the sub-region  to assess the work done so far and strategically plan for the rest of the year with a vigilant eye on the challenges ahead on the continent.

She indicated that the FAO was working on a strategic plan of action for boosting resilience in the most affected areas of the sub-region.

Ms Semedo said Africa was on the brink of a significant transformation, being the world’s fastest growing continent, with its largely youthful population counted as one of its greatest assets.

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She said despite that encouraging scenario, food insecurity and malnutrition were still increasingly appearing on the agenda as a call for urgent action.

“It is noteworthy to highlight that countries in the West African sub-region are mostly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, as agriculture employs 70 per cent of the total workforce and contributes more than 60 per cent of the GDP of some countries,” she said.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, said over the years, the FAO, working within the broad objectives of the country’s agricultural policies, had developed the Country Programme Framework (CPF) based on priorities and exploiting Ghana’s strengths in a proactive manner.

He said based on that partnership, the MoFA had collaborated with the FAO in the implementation of a number of projects, including agricultural statistics which were very key and vital to agricultural planning.

Mr Humado expressed the hope that the outcome of the meeting would help devise strategies that would help in advancing agricultural development in the country.

The Deputy FAO Regional Representative, Mr Lamourdia Thiombiano, said the FAO, as a centre of excellence, was working in close collaboration with partners and UN agencies to support its member countries in the sub-region to boost the agricultural sector as an engine of growth to overcome hunger and reduce poverty in the context of climate change.