Low fruit and vegetable intake among top 10 selected risk factors

By: Morkporkpor Anku, GNA


Accra, March. 9, GNA – Low fruit and vegetable consumption is among the top 10 selected risk factors for global mortality.

Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Representative to Ghana, speaking at the 2017 Promotion of Fruit and Vegetables for Health (PROVAF) workshop said for Ghana, low fruit and vegetable consumption prevalence ranges from 36.6 per cent for men and 38.0 per cent for women.

Dr Abebe said improved access to vegetables and fruits in diets reduces mortality and morbidity of infants and children under five years old, particularly in rural areas.

An estimated 5.2 million people die worldwide due to inadequate fruit and vegetable intake while insufficient intake of fruit and vegetables is estimated to cause around 14 per cent of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, about 11 per cent of heart disease deaths and about 9 per cent of stroke deaths.

The workshop was to create awareness about the FAO-WHO joint initiative on fruits and vegetable for health project and also map existing politics and current programmes and activities for the promotion of fruits and vegetables in Ghana.

It was also to present the findings of the survey and nutritional composition analysis done in four eco-zones in Ghana and to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for improving fruit and vegetable production and consumption at the National level.

He said Fruit and vegetable production provided a means of livelihood and employment generation for many Ghanaians and their families, and played an important role in the improvement of health.

‘Overall, per capita consumption of vegetables and fruit falls far short of the daily recommended level of 400 grams,’ he added.

Dr Abebe said the prioritization of vegetables in the recently launched ‘Planting for Food and jobs campaign’ by Government was laudable.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, said the fruit and vegetable sector was important for the vitality of the Ghanaian economy.

He said Government has recently launched the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign’ to increase the productivity and availability of major food staples and vegetables as well as create more jobs within the agriculture and related sectors

He said Horticultural crop production provided new and profitable sources of income for farmers and it could be especially important for small-scale farmers since these crops were well suited to smallholdings and family enterprises and were often adaptable to urban areas and small plot gardens

‘Besides creating jobs on the farm, the horticultural sector also generates off-farm employment, especially for women,’ he added.

He said aside the financial benefits of horticultural production, increasing women’s access to vegetables and fruits for themselves and their families would improve their health and work performance, thereby contributing to higher incomes.

Madam Makiko Taguichi, An Agriculture Officer, FAO Office in Rome said Fruits and vegetables were excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals, fibre and vegetable protein.

She said a new challenge in diet- relating non-communicable diseases were heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes were no longer limited to affluent countries.

’80 per cent of premature deaths occur in middle and low income countries,’ she added.

She said there was the need to increase public awareness about importance of fruit and vegetable consumption in healthy diets.

She said the risk of fruit and vegetable consumption actually dropping in quantity and diversity was real and needs to be understood and addressed.

Dr Francis Appiah, Lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology said public-private partnership was an important mechanism in the promotion of the production and utilization of fruit and vegetable.

He said lack of accessible land, ready market, inadequate capital and credit, high cost of inputs and pest and diseases were some of the constraints to vegetable production.


Source: modernghana.com

Food prices fall fifth year in a row in 2016 – FAO








By: Pamela Ofori-Boateng

Prices of major food commodities declined for the fifth year in a row in 2016, averaging 161.6 points for the year as a whole, some 1.5 per cent below their 2015 levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Bumper harvests and prospects for staple cereals offset upward pressure on FAO’s Food Price Index from tropical commodities such as sugar and palm oil, where production was impacted by El Nino.

In December, the Index averaged nearly 172 points, unchanged from November, the report said.

2016 was marked by a steady decline in cereal prices, which fell 9.6 per cent from 2015 and were down 39 per cent from their 2011 peak.

At the same time, sugar and vegetable oil prices rose over the year by 34.2 per cent and 11.4 per cent, respectively, it adds.

“Economic uncertainties, including movements in exchange rates, are likely to influence food markets even more so this year,” FAO’s  Senior Economist Abdolreza Abbassian was quoted as saying in the report.

FAO’s Cereal Price Index, largely stable since September, increased by 0.5 per cent in the month of December, with rice and maize quotations firming up while larger-than-expected production estimates in Australia, Canada and the Russian Federation led to lower wheat prices.

The report noted that the Vegetable Oil Price Index rose 4.2 per cent from November, capping a double-digit annual gain to reach its highest level since July 2014. Both palm oil and soy oil quotations rose, the former due to low global inventory levels and tight supplies, the latter on the prospect of rising use in the biodiesel sectors in North and South America.

It also said that the Dairy Price Index rose by 3.3 per cent, from November, due primarily to higher prices for butter, cheese and whole milk powder and restrained output in the European Union and Oceania.

The Sugar Price Index, while up almost a third over the year, declined 8.6 per cent in the last month of 2016. The sharp fall was mainly driven by an ongoing weakening of the Brazilian Real against the U.S. dollar, along with a reported 18 per cent jump in expected production in the Centre South, Brazil’s main sugarcane-growing region, it further said.

The Meat Price Index declined 1.1 per cent from its revised November level. Its average value in 2016 was 7 per cent below that of 2015, due mainly to falls in the international prices of bovine and poultry meats.

The FAO Food Price Index is a trade-weighted index tracking international market prices for five key food commodity groups: major cereals, vegetable oils, dairy, meat and sugar.


Source: ghanabusinessnews.com


ICT critical for advancing agriculture modernisation – FAO

By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Jan. 17, GNA – Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is critical for advancing the agenda for agriculture modernisation and meeting the food security and nutrition needs of Ghana and Africa, Dr AgBendech Mohamed, Senior Food and Nutrition Officer, has said.

Dr Mohamed with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Regional Office for Africa said ICT would continue to play a crucial role in shaping future agriculture intelligence at farm level and within food chains.

He made the remarks at the ongoing the 68th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) in Accra at the University of Ghana.

The 68th ANYSC, on the theme: “Promoting National Development through Agriculture Modernisation: The Role of ICT,” is being organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Ghana, under the auspices of the MTN, Eximbank Ghana, and the Kosmos Innovation Centre.

The aim of the ANYSC is to create the platform for passionate discussions on how ICT could be integrated into agriculture, to modernise the sector for sustainable national development.

Dr Mohamed said the strategic application of ICT to agricultural industry, offered the opportunity for economic growth and poverty alleviation.

He noted that the FAO would continue to work with Ghana and governments in Africa to improve the understanding and awareness of the needs and challenges of small-scale farmers on effectively applying ICT through systematic participatory approaches.

FAO would also reinforce capacities of communities and local organisations to lead and own the process of appropriation of successful ICT technologies as well as combining old and new technologies to create a three-tier system.


Source: mordenghana.com

FAO says it’s ready to help Ghana end food insecurity and malnutrition










By: Pamela Ofori-Boateng

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says it will continue to support the government of Ghana in its efforts to end food insecurity and malnutrition.

The FAO Representative to Ghana Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel has said that the UN agency will assist Ghana in developing and implementing policies and strategies that will help to create and sustain enabling environments in creating incentives for key sectors and actors so they can make a dent on ending food insecurity and malnutrition,

Dr. Abebe observed that there is a need for inter-sectorial synergies and multi-stakeholders engagement to ensure efficient and effective mobilisation and utilization of resources towards achieving the food security and nutrition objectives of the country, according to information on the FAO’s website.

Dr. Abebe made this observation in Ghana while addressing participants at a multi stakeholder’s dialogue to foster greater inter-sectoral collaboration and coordination for achievement of Food Security and Nutrition, held under the FAO project Enhanced Capacities for Effective Mobilization and Use of Resources for Food Security and Nutrition.

Food insecurity and malnutrition has remained a serious challenge in developing regions, including Africa, despite numerous policy commitments and progresses achieved thus far.

For instance,a new Cost of Hunger in Africa: the Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition on Ghana’s Long-Term Development (COHA) report found that the economy of Ghana is losing some GH¢4.6 billion, approximately $2.6 billion, or 6.4 per cent of GDP every year to the effects of child undernutrition.

The report shows large amounts of funds being lost through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity by Ghana’s workforce.

According to the report released in Accra August 2, 2016, the consequences of stunting (low height for age) are of particular concern.

The FAO therefore, believes that, the mobilisation of adequate resources and their efficient utilisation for achieving food security and nutrition has been a major policy concern in the context of the commitment by African leaders to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budget to agriculture.

While allocation of increased public resources is absolutely necessary, it is also crucial to recognise that constructive engagement and creating the necessary enabling policy environment for private sector for enhanced investment in food security and nutrition related activities is key, it added.

It further explains that enhancing capacities of non-state actors so they can support the transformation agenda and enhance mutual accountability at the local or national level in light of Ghana’s decentralization serves as an anchor for realizing set targets.

The FAO project aims at increasing food security and nutrition in Malawi and Ghana through improving resource allocation to National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs) by improving capacities of state and non-state actors to monitor public expenditures and to facilitate inclusive public private partnerships,

In recognition of the role of investment in contributing to poverty reduction and eliminating hunger, African states committed to a target of allocating at least 10 per cent of public expenditure to agriculture and rural development as part of the 2003 Maputo Declaration and the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agriculture Growth and Transformation, it said.


Source: ghanabusinessnews.com