A CDN$14.3 million Canadian dollar sponsored project being implemented by Ghana’s Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) of Canada in Northern Ghana– indicates that a lot of benefits are beginning to accrue.
The Food Security and Environment Facility (FSEF) project which began in September 16, 2008 and expected to end by May 31, 2016, seeks to contribute to government’s efforts to achieve food security through environmentally sound agricultural development.
It also provides funding for local initiatives developed by Ghanaian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector in collaboration with Canadian and international organizations.
The purpose of the FSEF is also to deliver and disseminate innovative food security and sustainable agricultural programming in the three regions of the North– Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.
The project focuses on environmental considerations as a high priority development in the pursuit of food security initiatives; Deputy Minister, MLGRD, Emmanuel Agyekum said this when he addressed a knowledge sharing network (KSN) forum in Tamale.
Mr. Agyekum noted that, a new soil management technique (ZAI METHOD) introduced to beneficiaries in the project areas led to significant increase in maize production on degraded lands.
Cage fish culture introduced to beneficiaries for the first time, he said, also increased the production of fish significantly. “All these have impacted the livelihoods of the people by increasing their income levels”, Mr. Agyekum stressed.
Also, according to the DFATD website, results achieved as of April 2012 confirmed an increased awareness of 4,020 farmers (1,300 women) of environmentally sound agricultural practices for the improved production of maize, soybean, groundnuts, onions, mangoes and cage fish farming.
Other results achieved include increased crop yields for maize and soybean; introduction of new practices such as dry-season gardening in communities with highly degraded lands; and five Ghanaian non-governmental and private sector organizations trained in financial and results-based management and gender equality.
|Deputy Minister, MLGRD|
The KSN forum in Tamale like previous ones, intended for participants to learn about new ways of storing yams by the use of the raised yam hut technology, guinea fowl and small ruminant improvements, fish processing and improved traditional silos for storage. The forum is also designed to periodically, fill knowledge gaps among sub-projects of FSEF and to promote dialogue among stakeholders especially beneficiary actors.
The World Food Programme’s Hunger Map 2014, estimates 805 million people in the world currently do not get enough food to live a normal active life. Halving hunger and extreme poverty by 2015, therefore, remains the first priority of the Millennium Development Goals.
The United Nations in a recent report on the poverty situation in Ghana said, whereas the level of poverty in the Northern part of the country is still increasing, that of the Southern sector is decreasing.
The report indicated that the largest number of poor people in the country live in Northern Ghana, Accra and Kumasi, “and while the number of poor people in the South decline by 2.5 million people, it actually increases in the North by 900,000 people.”
Besides, Dr. Sulley Gariba, former Development Policy Advisor to President John Mahama in 2010 stated that, the three regions of the North are yet to attain middle-income status despite the fact that Ghana recently achieved that status.
According to Dr. Gariba, the average poverty level in the three regions is 62 percent while the national average is 18 percent, adding that "There is still a wide disparity of national development between the three regions and the Southern part of Ghana".
Meanwhile, the KSN forum, which is a follow up to the maiden one held last year, brought together Faith Based Organisations, farmers, agribusinesses, District Assemblies, District Assembly sub-committees on agriculture, ActionAid-Ghana, Technoserve, Plan Ghana, indigenous NGOs, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resources Commission and Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research.