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Ghana has become the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve the Millennium Development Goal on halving hunger, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced in the first Africa Human Development Report published today May 15, 2012.
“Since 2000 rural poverty has declined sharply, enabling Ghana to become the first country in the region to meet the Millennium Development Goal target on reducing poverty by half by 2015,” said the report.
The UNDP attributed Ghana’s feat partly to the focused policies the country implemented which encouraged cocoa farmers to boost output.
“This progress was driven in part by expanding the area under cocoa cultivation on labour-intensive smallholder farms., said the UNDP arguing that if agriculture is to advance sub-Saharan Africa’s human development and food security, yields must rise and fast.
Despite African economies recording impressive growth rates, the report says sub-Saharan Africa cannot sustain its present economic resurgence unless it eliminates the hunger that affects nearly a quarter of its people.
In her foreword, Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP, wrote “Building a food secure future for all Africans requires focus and action in critical areas— from increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers to advancing nutrition among children, building resilient communities and sustainable food systems, and empowering women and the rural poor.”
Clark was of the view that success in these areas will come only if “we view food security as a challenge that extends beyond sectoral mandates and reaches across the national development agenda.”
She hoped that this first report will energize the debate on how to strengthen food security and accelerate human development in Africa and will lead to more decisive action.
Let us eradicate food insecurity and hunger in Africa for all time, Clark concluded.
By Ekow Quandzie