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15.12.2007 Press Release



Accra, Ghana – An inauguration ceremony of mobile salt iodization units which the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) supplied to small, medium and cottage scale salt producers, took place at Nyanyano today.

WFP's Iodine Initiative targets five countries with funding from CIDA – India, Pakistan, Sudan, Senegal and Ghana. To support global efforts to combat iodine deficiency disorders in Ghana, the iodine initiative of US$590,000, is providing technical assistance in the form of eight mobile salt iodization units, in addition to business and marketing training, to four small and medium scale salt producers. This is intended to contribute to increased production, distribution and promotion of iodized salt and ultimately, to the achievement of Universal Salt Iodization in Ghana. Although Ghana is recognized as the second largest salt producer in the West Africa sub-region af ter Senegal, only 32 percent of the population consumes adequately iodated salt compared with a 98 percent usage in Nigeria.

In partnership with the President's Special Initiative, The Micronutrient Initiative, Technoserve and UNICEF, WFP has over the past two years, been strengthening the technical, business and marketing capacity of two small scale salt producers - Tradevco Salt and U2 Company; two cottage scale producers - Nyanyano Salt Producers' Association with 200 members and Anlo Afiadenyigba Cooperative with 250 members. Three women's groups in the Northern and Upper East Regions have been linked with these producers as retailers.

WFP is determined to develop Ghana into a WFP regional procurement hub for the supply of food commodities in general, including iodized salt. The agency needs thousands of tonnes of iodized salt annually to serve development and emergency operations throughout West Africa. This programme is also targeted to improve the capacity of Ghanaian salt producers to meet WFP tender requirements and to increase national production of iodized salt by an additional 25,000 mt annually. Since WFP started working closely with salt producers, local procurement of salt has increased sharply from US$3,000 in 2005 to US$126,000 to date.

WFP is also supporting UNICEF's social mobilization and communication strategy to create and increase awareness about the benefits of iodized salt, hoping that in the long term, these communities will reflect a reduction and elimination of iodine deficiency disorders. This activity is targeting primary and JSS schools in all the 3 northern regions.

Iodized salt forms an important part of WFP's food basket in its food-assistance programmes. In Ghana, WFP is currently distributing iodated salt to 60,000 women and children under the WFP-supported nutrition programmes, 170,000 beneficiaries in the form of take home rations for the girls' education program and 30,000 children under the school feeding program.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average to 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 58 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP – We Feed People

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For more information please contact:
Trudy Bower, Representative, World Food Programme, Accra Tel. 021 773540
Vera Boohene, Reports/Information Assistant, WFP Accra Tel 021 785360-3 Ext 4700