PRESS RELEASE -Africa Day for Food & Nutrition Security

Theme: “Accelerated Action for a Hunger Free Africa ” 30 October 2014

1. Background

In July 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique, African Union Heads of State and Government endorsed the Declaration on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). CAADP’s principal goal is to pursue an agriculture-led development agenda for reducing poverty and eradicating food insecurity and severe undernutrition in Africa. However, despite this moral commitment, the abysmal performance of the sector continued to worsen.

It is on these grounds that the October 2010 AU Summit in Kampala, Uganda, declared the commemoration of the Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) every 30 th October at both the continental and country levels. The ADFNS was virtually launched during the October 2010 Conference of Ministers of Agriculture in Lilongwe, Malawi. Subsequent observance of the ADFNS followed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2011 and 2012) and in Niamey, Niger (2013). The Democratic Republic of Congo is hosting the 2014 event.

Following an initiative by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Secretary-General of the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Dr. José Graziano da Silva and the former President of Brazil and Instituto Lula , Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who conceptualised the idea of “ new, unified approaches to end hunger in Africa ”, some Heads of State and Government and international leaders, met at the AU Headquarters in Addis, Ethiopia, on 30 June-1 July 2013 under the theme “ Towards Africa’s Renaissance: Renewed Partnership for a unified approach to end hunger in Africa within the CAADP Framework ”. The High Level Meeting culminated in the famous Declaration “ Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025 ”, which was endorsed in the 22 nd AU Summit of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and rebranded as “ Hunger Free Africa by 2025 ”. 2. Rationale

2. The goal of a Hunger Free Africa is set to motivate firm action toward improving food security and nutrition indicators and targets. For this to happen, partners at all levels must concert efforts to develop and implement comprehensive plans of action for improving food availability, access, quality and durability. In the parallel session of the work stream on Food and Nutrition Security of the 10th CAADP Partnership Platform held on 19th March 2014, partners and actors committed to the vision of Hunger Free Africa by 2025 through “sustainable, resilient and diversified livelihoods and diverse diets that meet their nutritional needs”. This requires implementing a comprehensive programme supported by sound national policies, which are designed through inclusive processes and information systems. Such programmes must target the poor, hungry and malnourished people, typically: children, women, female headed households, youth, smallholders, pastoralists and peri-urban people.

The ADFNS is an advocacy, information sharing and communication tool for stimulating an appreciation and arousing commitment towards issues related to the theme of the year. We therefore commemorate the ADFNS to harnesses partnerships and rapport amongst strategic partners to work together toward the set goal.

3. Theme of ADFNS 2014

The theme for commemorating this year’s ADFNS is “ Accelerated Action for a Hunger Free Africa ”. The theme calls for ‘business unusual’ in efforts to end hunger. ‘Accelerating Action’ means working strenuously and progressively to overcome obstacles, doubling efforts for meeting the planned objectives, committing more resources and combining efforts for delivering services to the target groups. Ghana commemorates this day with a focus on improving nutrition through sustainable agricultural interventions.

4. Current situation

Although there is moderate improvement in socioeconomic development in the last few years several key outcomes related to nutrition remain poor: Nearly one-forth of children under 5 years of age in Ghana are too short for their age (stunted), 6.2% of children are wasted (too light for their height), with a range between regions of 9.2% to 3.1%. Micronutrient deficiencies among women of reproductive age and children are major public health challenges. This state of under nutrition contributes to increased risk of illness and death as well as complications during pregnancy and delivery. In addition, undernourished children have irreversibly reduced intelligence, low economic productivity later in life and increased risk of a wide range of diseases in adulthood. Improving nutrition, especially for women and children, is key to increasing child survival and ensuring good health for the people of Ghana. Good nutrition and improved health status is critical for Ghana’s economic growth and development

5. Our commitment

On this Africa Day for Food & Nutrition Security, Ghana reiterates its commitment to ensure food and nutrition security in the country, guided by the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II) and the National Nutrition Policy. Specific strategies being implemented include: promoting production and consumption of local foods including fruits and vegetables; promoting bio-fortification and intensifying awareness creation programs for improved nutrition. Other initiatives include value addition to agricultural produce and ensuring the safety and extended shelf life of food. This commitment is also reflected in the theme for this year’s National Farmers Day “eat what you grow for health and wealth .”