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08.10.2003 General News

Ghanaians are malnourished

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Accra, Oct. 7, GNA - Forty per cents of Ghanaians in the Northern Sector are malnourished while 24 per cent of those in the South share the same fate, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosah, Director General of the Ghana Health Services, said on Tuesday.

He said, the burden of diseases, which had direct link to the food eaten, needed to be brought down "otherwise, everybody would start going to hospital everyday".

Prof. Akosah said this when he spoke on: "Alliance Against Hunger" at a day's agricultural stakeholders forum in Accra to commemorate the forthcoming World Food Day, which falls on October 16.

This year's theme: "International Alliance Against Hunger" has been chosen to stimulate concerted efforts and actions with the view to taking the concept of global partnership to make it a reality and work together to reduce poverty.

He said:"We need more than just an alliance to fight hunger, but that every single Ghanaian needs to wake up and contribute his or her quota to the solutions".

Prof. Akosah said the development of the economy should be agric-led saying: "There is the need to assess the role of the financial institutions to know their direct impact on the economic development of the Agricultural Sector".

He said the banks could grant credit facilities in the form of inputs instead of cash and that they should not just abandon the vast majority of people, who would genuinely put their assistance into proper use because a few misappropriate and misuse such credit facilities. "The enthusiasm of wanting to do farming alone should be recognized and supported because if we do that these young men and women that hawk and roam on our streets would reduce drastically," he said.

He suggested that lands that were lying fallow should be taken over by Government and given out for farming as a way of increasing food production.

Major Courage Quashigah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said emphasis should be put on agricultural growth to make food affordable. "Given all the natural resources, it is possible for Ghana to feed its people and even feed other sister nations that are plagued with natural disasters," he said.

Mr Anatolio Ndong Nba, Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO)'s Representative in Ghana, said the current world hunger situation presented individuals with the challenge to put hunger issues at the forefront of national priorities.

He said in spite of the ample world food production, more than 800 million people still remained hungry and too many children died before reaching adulthood, while many adults died before attaining their full potentials.

Mr Nba lauded the Government for organising the stakeholders' forum and said it was a demonstration of its political will to ensure that the well being of its citizens were safeguarded.

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