The World Food Programme (WFP) has marked World Food Day with highlights on the vital role that its food assistance play during humanitarian crises, supporting recovery in the immediate aftermath of disasters, and building the resilience that is necessary to ensure food security.
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in a statement issued to the media including Savannahnews said that “Across the world, we are the bridge between hunger and hope for millions of people. WFP is providing life-saving food assistance in the midst of crises like the drought in the Horn of Africa”, she stated.
According to her, in countries like Libya, WFP is supporting communities that are striving to recover from crisis, and in places like Haiti, it continues to work with governments and civil society to build resilience so that the vulnerable are better able to cope when the next disaster strikes.
Relief, recovery and resilience are the three defining pillars of WFP’s work in more than 70 countries around the world, where the UN agency is bringing the most effective and appropriate food assistance to close to 100 million people this year.
WFP Country Director for Ghana, Ismail Omer, also said in the statement that the organization is providing much-needed food relief to 10,000 Ivorian refugees camped in the Central, Western and Brong-Ahafo Regions.
Support is also being provided to the Ghana School Feeding Programme whilst a recovery operation is assisting over 400,000 people who have been badly hit by recurrent floods, droughts, and rising food prices, he said, adding that “Most of them are participating in food-for-work programmes which support the re-construction of vital community infrastructure such as the desilting of dug-outs and reforestation projects currently being undertaken in the three Regions of the North.”
This year’s theme for World Food Day, “Food Prices – from Crisis to Stability”, underlines the role that food assistance can play in protecting vulnerable communities that are affected by food price volatility.
Thus, WFP is deploying an increasingly sophisticated array of innovative tools to address the needs of people who are struggling to access the nutrition they need for their families on a daily basis – including those in many developing countries who have borne the brunt of the turbulence on global food markets.
The statement said food security in developing countries could be strengthened by empowering smallholder farmers, citing WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, a pilot programme in 21 countries that is providing farmers with the expertise to improve the quality and size of their yields, and better connect them to markets.
Meanwhile, Ismail Omer, Country Director of WFP also disclosed that the organization is supporting the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to provide nutritious food to 60,000 pregnant and nursing women and children under-5. It is also working with other UN agencies under the Renewed Efforts Against Child Hunger and Undernutrition, and the Scale-up Nutrition initiatives, both of which are picking up momentum and will help government and all stakeholders give renewed focus to nutrition issues, he noted.
He further revealed that the P4P initiative has begun with training programmes taking place for 1,330 smallholder maize farmers in Ejura-Sekyedumase and rice farmers in Tamale and Tolon-Kumbungu in the Ashanti and Northern Region respectively.