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05.12.2005 General News

USAID offloads 20,950 tonnes of wheat

By GNA
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Accra, Dec 5, GNA - About 20,950 tonnes of wheat valued at approximately 5.8 million dollars was on Monday offloaded at the Tema Harbour, as part of the United States (US) Government's Food Aid Programme to enhance food security in Ghana.

It formed part of an annual donation of 50,000 tonnes of food commodities to Ghana worth approximately 24 million dollars through the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Food for Peace Programme.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who witnessed the event, observed that Ghana had over the past two decades been a beneficiary of the US Food Aid programme, not only under the Food for Peace Title II Programme but also under the PL 480 Title III Programme.

"This assistance has not only alleviated the Food Security problem of the country but also gone a long way in providing valuable developmental resources," he said.

Mr Baah-Wiredu observed that resources that had been developed out of wheat processing had been used to provide social infrastructure in poor communities, especially in the three northern regions of the country. He said meeting the nutritional needs of the people of any country was fundamental to reducing poverty and disease, adding that whereas the US had "over achieved" food self-sufficiency using less than five per cent of its labour force, Ghana had a deficit in food production, although she was using 60 per cent of her labour force.

"This clearly shows that productivity in food production is a problem that must be tackled with zeal and dispatch if Ghana is to make a headway in improving its food sufficiency within the foreseeable future," he said.

He said the Government was making concerted efforts with its development partners at increasing food production through projects such as training in improved methods of agriculture, post harvest loss reduction technology as well as enhancing access of farmers to micro credit.

The Minister said Ghana was on the verge of receiving a significant resource under the Millennium Challenge Account that had the potential of speeding up growth within the economy. Ms Pamela Bridgewater, US Ambassador to Ghana, said it was the hope of the US Government that funds generated out of the donation would be used towards further developing deprived areas in the country. The donation was facilitated by the USAID.

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