ECOWAS regional food security meeting opens in Accra
A sub-regional meeting on food security within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has opened in Accra on Monday.
It is to afford participants the opportunity to review and share experiences on food production in the sub-region.
Dubbed, the “Sixth Multidisciplinary and Sub-regional Management Team Meetings,” the four-day event is being attended by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representatives across West Africa, and other international and sub-regional organizations.
Mr Lamourdia Thiombiano, Deputy Regional Representative, FAO said the meeting would focus on analyzing the results and impact obtained from various agricultural projects.
He said hundreds of projects and programmes worth more than 66 million dollars are being undertaking at national and sub-regional levels.
“The impact of these programmes that have shown substantive encouraging results at policy and household levels will be assessed,” he added.
He expressed the hope that the deliberations would be fruitful, leading to focused and key recommendations that would pave way for greater impact of FAO’s work in the sub region.
Madam Helena Semado, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, FAO, said despite the fact that Africa was the world’s fastest growing continent, with largely youthful populations, food insecurity and malnutrition were still increasingly appearing on “our agenda as a call for urgent action in a context of a rapidly rising and urbanization population…”
She therefore called for integrated agricultural and social-economic interventions, including innovative small-holder agriculture-based social protection programmes to build and strengthen resilience, improvement, availability and accessibility to food.
Madam Semado said agriculture should also be re-packaged to attract the teeming African youth so that they would all be involved in providing food for the countries.
She also commended the platform where all ECOWAS countries had come together to attain and achieve a high level of political interventions to mitigate hunger within the sub-region.
Mr Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture in a speech read his behalf, commended the FAO for initiating the platform for member countries to prioritise and initiate projects aimed at enhancing food security and nutrition as social interventions for the poor and sustainable environmental management.
He said the subject areas of the FAO as a partner in agricultural development was tandem with the agricultural policies and plans of Ghana and therefore the meeting was very important to the Ministry.
He said previous planning meetings like the one being held had helped in advancing agricultural development in the country, especially in the area of using biological control to halt invasion of insects that brought untold hardships to papaya farmers in Ghana.
Others were the interventions to support guinea fowl production in northern Ghana as well as an ongoing cowpea project using scientific methodologies.