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20.02.2006 General News

Ghana food banking project to be established


Accra, Feb. 20, GNA - The Ghana School Feeding Programme and USA-Ghana Alliance against Hunger are networking with America School Harvest, the largest food charitable and hunger relief organisation in the USA, to establish Ghana's first food banking project to help to eliminate hunger among the poor and vulnerable in the country. Briefing the press in Accra, Dr Kwame Amoako Tuffuor, Executive Chairman of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) School Feeding Programme, said the project would complement Government's efforts to achieve food security targets and for accelerated economic growth, particularly the agricultural sector.

He said food banking was about taking food that would otherwise be thrown away and redistribute it to those in need, adding that it had wider implications for agriculture and the economy.

Dr Tuffuor noted that food banking worked because it addressed both business problems, such as inventory management and other potential waste and social problems like insufficient income to acquire needed food through retail channels.

It is a large food distribution initiative that aligns private and public resources in the fight against hunger and contributes to job training, economic development and the development of the human capital. Dr Tuffuor noted that developing food banks in a developing country was a challenge and could be a long-term painstaking task. He said a country that could not feed itself could not be proud and feel responsible for the welfare of the less privileged in society. Dr Tuffuor called for an efficient structure to fight post-harvest losses of small-scale farmers, creation of a sustainable market and food surpluses for small and medium-scale farms.

He said the school feeding programme served as one of the demonstration projects of the Government's determination to end hunger. Dr Tuffuor said this effort in feeding primary school children for free needed to be sustained, adding that there were a lot of other people such as kindergarten pupils, street children, poor people and many hungry people that needed to be fed.

He said the school feeding programme which began last year piloted 10 schools to feed 200 children. This year the programme aims at dealing with 1,000 schools and feeding 200,000 children.

Dr Tuffuor said the project needed warehouses and people with technical expertise and those who were ready to sacrifice their time. Mr David Prendergast, Executive Vice President of the Global Food Banking Network, said its mission was to alleviate world hunger by developing national networks of food banks and strengthening food banking around the world.

It also aims at strengthening food banks around the world with the goal of adapting lessons and models to varied economies and cultures. He said the project was being established to begin a working partnership adding that food in Africa was wasted because of lack of storage facilities.