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Ghana hosts FAO food security conference

Ghana has hosted a special training session and meeting in Accra for 15 FAO representative countries in the West African sub-region

The three-day training and meeting began in Accra on Monday (20th February) where discussions covered the critical issues and challenges facing the sub-region in relation to the various crisis and food security and brainstorm on best approaches within the medium term and long term to ensure dealing with the situation.

Maria Helena Senedo, Assistant Director-General, Regional Representative for Africa, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said the meeting focused on analysing opportunities and needs for capacity building of decentralised authorities, sub-regional organisations, national representation and institutions. She said this would enhance the FAO West Africa Office's operational and managerial capacities for informed programme planning and effective delivery.

The training and meeting, held under the auspices of the FAO Sub-Regional Office for West Africa (SFW), reviewed emerging challenges in funding, food availability, accessibility and other agricultural issues as well as the issue of climate change.

According to Ghana News Agency, Senedo said it was important that a multi-disciplinary approach was adapted to programmes and identify priority areas of action for the organisation in the sub-region. She explained that it was the overall goal of the SFW to achieve by 2015, sustained rural poverty reduction and food security through a broad-based growth on agricultural production, productivity and diversification as well as household incomes. The focus was on small holders and vulnerable groups while thoroughly addressing pervasive gender inequalities and the marginalisation of minority groups as well as the inequalities between territories, areas and countries.

Senedo suggested increases in investment in the agricultural sectors of countries in the sub-region, while ensuring the provision of improved seeds and other agricultural supplies and equipment to farmers for expanded cultivation of food crops to ensure food security.

Dr. Anthony Akunzule, Deputy Director, Veterinary Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana, said Ghana has initiated some projects aimed at ensuring food security especially in conflict and crises areas of the country. These projects, he said, are to help alleviate poverty among vulnerable groups who might suffer as a result of the conflict or in cases of disaster.

He mentioned projects such as the guinea fowl and sheep projects in conflict areas in Ghana such as the three Northern Regions, where sheep and guinea fowl flourished and were distributed to people as part of the poverty alleviation strategy from government. Akunzule expressed the hope that results from discussions during the meeting will be implemented to ensure food security in the West African sub-region.