Bolgatanga, Sept 15, GNA - The World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday donated 401 metric tonnes, (approximately 16,070 mini-bags) of corn soya blend to help ease the problem of food shortage in the Upper East Region.
Mr Francis Sarpong-Kumankuma, head of the Tamale Sub-Office of the WFP who made the presentation on behalf of the Country Director of the Programme, said the consignment was part of 894 metric tonnes (about 35,760 mini-bags) of the commodity earmarked for the region and that the rest would arrive in due course.
He said the move was in response to an appeal made earlier in the year by the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) for assistance following threats of food shortage.
"From our own inquiry we discovered that prices of food, particularly cereal, had shot up, compelling some families to sell their female goats while others resorted to the consumption of crop seed otherwise reserved for sowing," he said.
Mr Sarpong-Kumankuma said it was the directive of WFP that the food should go to pregnant women, lactating mothers and malnourished children below five years.
He said 55 metric tonnes of the commodity would be distributed through the Ghana Health Service (GHS), while the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese of the Catholic Church would handle the rest.
Receiving the consignment Mr Boniface Gambila, the Upper East Regional Minister, said the problem of malnutrition among children and pregnant women in the area was a long-standing one.
He said the food had arrived at the right moment, considering the poor harvest of the early millet crop this season.
Mr Gambila said the lack of food in homes accounted for low school enrolment in most parts of the region and expressed the hope that the government's "meal-a-day" supplementary feeding programme would help reverse the trend.
He thanked WFP for its generosity and urged the distribution committee to ensure that the food got to the targeted groups as soon as possible.