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14.08.2003 Business & Finance

TELEFOOD 2003 launched

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Accra, Aug. 14, GNA - This year's TELEFOOD project was launched on Thursday with a call on the public to donate into the TELEFOOD fund to achieve food security on the continent.

The First Lady, Mrs Theresa Kufuor, making the call, said statistics have shown that about 800 million people particularly in Africa were chronically undernourished and every government was tasked to put in measures to half the number by 2015.

TELEFOOD is an annual public awareness and fund-raising campaign of broadcasts, concerts and other events dedicated to helping the hungry to help themselves.

Since its inception in 1997, the TELEFOOD special fund with a maximum budget of 10,000 dollars was used to provide direct assistance to group of small-scale farmers, fishermen, herdsmen or rural poor of a particular village, community or local institutions and health centres to undertake food production and income generating activities.

Mrs Kufuor said ending hunger should be a global priority and challenged governments, civil society and the private sector to carry out their commitments and step up their efforts to eliminate it.

She said commitments and promises were starting points on the road to achieving a millennium free from hunger, adding, "policies, programmes, projects, resources and activities to achieve food security should be geared towards ensuring adequate, available, affordable, quality packaging and safety among other thigs".

She, therefore, stressed need for proper mechanism to measure the effectiveness of food security and restore efforts to combat the multiple causes of food insecurity and thereby restore basic human rights.

Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Food and Agriculture, in a speech read for him by Mr Eddie Akita, Minister of State in charge of Fisheries, pledged the Ministry's preparedness to assist to ensure the success of the initiative.

He said Ghana like other African governments was committed to the long-term goal of implementing the food security and sustainable agriculture objectives.

"We in Ghana are committed to waging a sustainable campaign through broadcast and concert by calling on companies and individuals to generously contribute towards TELEFOOD funds."

Major Quashigah said the figures of deaths attributed to malnutrition and food related diseases painted a gloomy picture of the food deficit situation in the developing world.

He urged African countries to double up their efforts and harness all energies to bring on board all bodies, organizations and individuals to make viable interventions in the form of small agricultural/agro-based projects to ensure food security. Mr Anatolio Ndong Mba, FAO Representative to Ghana, said since 1997, Ghana had benefited from the TELEFOOD fund in Brong Ahafo, Greater Accra, Eastern and the three Northern Regions.

He said this year seven projects have already been approved for assistance and a further four were yet to be approved, adding, "a total of 70,000 dollars is expected to be spent on TELEFOOD projects in Ghana this year."

Mr Edward Boakye-Agyeman, Deputy Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank, said the Bank would cooperate with the project to ensure its success and to eradicate food deficiency completely from Ghana. 14 Aug. 03

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