The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) on Thursday inaugurated its Steering and Technical Advisory committees to conduct a comprehensive food security and vulnerability assessment to identify the prevailing conditions nationwide.
The two committees have eight members each. The Technical Advisory Committee has Peter Takyi Peprah and Abena Osei-Akoto from the GSS, John Notey and Godsway Banini (Ministry of Food and Agriculture), John Sitor (World Food Programme), and Seth Asante and Sena Amewu of the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Others are Ben Treveh (Local Consultant, World Food Programme), Bright Elorm Doviavu (National Disaster Management Organisation), Jefferson Attipoe (FAO), and Williams Massaoud, an international consultant.
Members of the Steering Committee are yet to be nominated but they would come from the GSS, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, National Development Planning Commission, World Food Programme (WFP), and the FAO.
Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, the Government Statistician, GSS, who inaugurated the committees and launched the 2020 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA), said per the 2009 CFSVA Report, about 453,000 people in Ghana were food insecure with 34 per cent in Upper West, 15 per cent in Upper East, and 10 per cent in the Northern Region.
The MoFA, on the other hand, estimated in an SGD Baseline Report (2018) that about five per cent of Ghana’s population (1.2 million) were food insecure nationwide, which meant any unexpected natural or manmade shock would greatly affect the pattern of their food consumption, he said.
He said data generated from the 2020 Assessment would provide the basis for reviving the quarterly Food and Nutrition Monitoring System, which analysed the key underlying factors of food security to be identified through the CFSVA.
Prof. Annim explained that the Steering Committee was charged to be the highest decision-making body for the conduct of the CFSVA, provide advice on project development, the budget, and identify and monitor project risks and timelines, among other things.
The Technical Advisory Committee, on the other hand, was expected to review and implement a sample design for the survey, review and finalise the project instruments, train field personnel, develop tabulation plan, analyse and write reports and design and implement dissemination plan at the national and district levels, among other things.
The Government Statistician urged the committees to find ways to comprehensively contextualise data from the assessment to facilitate follow ups on affected households.
In March 2021, he said, the Committees were expected to submit a report on the assessment.
He entreated them not to consider their key responsibilities as futuristic, but develop a tabulation plan immediately to commence all responsibilities before field work starts.
Madam Rukia Yacoub, the WFP Representative and Country Director, said Ghana had made strides to reducing malnutrition, hunger and food insecurity over the past two decades.
In 2015, she said the Government of Ghana was recognised for its successes in reducing hunger from seven million in the early 1990s to fewer than one million, adding that Ghana became one of the 72 countries that reduced those suffering from hunger to less than five per cent of the population.
She gave an assurance that the WFP would support the nationwide survey, as it would assess the impact of COVID-19 on food security and vulnerability and help to identify areas vulnerable to food insecurity for social protection programmes.
Mr Benjamin Adjei, the Assistant FAO Representative in Ghana, suggested that as part of the Assessment, committee members should look into the drivers of vulnerability within the agriculture and fishery sector and the entire food value chain to develop the necessary interventions.