Archive for the ‘Ghana’ Category

Jan06

Global Hunger Index Tells Stories of Progress and Stagnation in Sub-Saharan Africa

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By Jeffrey Lamoureux

The International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) recently released Global Hunger Index 2011 contains a wealth of information about the state of hunger across the developing world. Combining measures of undernourishment, underweight children, and child mortality, the study creates a picture of the severity of hunger on a nation-by-nation basis.  The measure is designed to help policymakers focus attention on the regions that need it most. According to the latest report, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have the highest levels of hunger, and progress over the last 20 years in these regions has been uneven.

Farmers in Ghana have benefitted from government investments (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Ghana was the only country in sub-Saharan Africa among the 10 best performers in improving their Global Hunger Index (GHI) score since ranking began in 1990. As rated by the index, Ghana has reduced the scale of hunger within its borders by 59 percent. IFPRI attributes this success to sustained investments in agriculture, rural development, education, and health, specifically immunizations. For his efforts on these fronts, former president John Kufuor was awarded the 2011 World Food Prize.

By all accounts, Ghana’s efforts, which included outreach to get more information to farmers, the provision of agricultural inputs, and infrastructure investments, had ripple effects that benefitted all levels of society. The government launched a program to improve the provision of food at its primary schools, using local produce to provide a hot meal to students, which significantly increased school enrollment. Their efforts were conducted alongside political reforms to expand the country’s democratic freedoms, supporting a virtuous circle that has pushed Ghana into the ranks of the world’s middle-income countries. Ghana today is a fast growing and politically stable country, a leading example of what is possible on the continent.

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Dec12

Shea: For people and planet

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By Kim Kido 

Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa, nilotica) is one of few trees that can withstand the harsh, semi-arid climate of the Sudan and Guinean savannas and the Sahel. Hardy, drought-resistant, and with fireproof bark, the uses of the shea tree are numerous and ancient, dating back to the 1300s.

Woman processing shea kernels into butter. (Photo credit: TREE AID)

Tools and coffins are made out of the wood, while the wastewater from processing seeds acts as a pesticide against weevils. The tree provides forage for sheep and goats as well as food for people. The sweet pulp of the fruit, similar to an avocado, is eaten fresh, providing a valuable source of nutrition early in the rainy season when food can be scarce. And, the tree’s flowers can be added to salads.

The shea tree also provides many environmental benefits. Farmers often intercrop the shea tree with cereal grains where they help to prevent wind erosion, provide shade, and contribute organic matter to the soil.

The uses of the shea nut are most widely known and offer the highest economic value. The seed contains a kernel that is eaten fresh, roasted like almonds, or processed to extract shea butter. Shea butter is traditionally used as a waterproofing material for houses, a cosmetic, a primary source of vegetable fat in cooking, and as a medicine for treating various skin diseases, arthritis, and other ailments.

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Nov16

Nourishing the Planet TV: School Feeding Programs Improve Livelihoods, Diets, and Local Economies

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In this week’s episode, we discuss school feeding programs that are helping children and their families in many parts of Africa, where 60 percent of children come to school in the morning without breakfast, if they attend school at all. But, programs such as the The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), are helping to provides school meals for about 20 million children in Africa.

Video: http://youtu.be/HZjiisyOGcc

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.
Oct18

Cadbury‘s Bicycle Factory

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By Grant Potter

Best known for their chocolate Easter eggs, the Cadbury Corporation continues their fundraising drive to build 5,000 bikes a year for children in rural Ghana with The Bicycle Factory. Cadbury urges their consumers to enter the UPC barcode numbers from Cadbury products into their website. Each barcode represents one physical component of a bike called the Nframa, which means “wind” in Ghanaian. One bike is made up of 100 parts, meaning it takes 100 UPC entries to “build” a bike.

Image credit: Cadbury

Bicycles serve as an important means of transportation in the developing world. Cadbury showcases this utility in their advertising campaign in which a girl uses her bike as a delivery van, ambulance, water truck, and school bus.  Bikes also do not rely on fossil fuel, and can help transport people and food on bumpy or unpaved roads. The fundraiser is a chance to “give back to the people who have given us so much,” says Cadbury, who “sources most of [their] cocoa from Ghana today”. Since establishing the program in 2009, Cadbury has collected enough barcodes to produce 10,237 bikes.

This program is part of a larger commitment by Cadbury to improve the lives of farmers. In 2008, Cadbury joined with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Ghanaian government, and other partners to create the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership. This partnership, focusing on small-holder farmers, is designed to improve yields of Ghanaian cocoa farmers as well as introduce new forms of rural income, invest in community-led development, and undertake biodiversity and water quality control programs. In 2009 Cadbury furthered its commitment to Ghanaian farmers when it announced its dedication to receiving Fairtrade certification for its cocoa.

What do you think? What are other creative development strategies to alleviate rural poverty? Tell us in the comments section.

Grant Potter is a development associate and executive assistant to the President of  Worldwatch.

To read more about initiatives to combat rural poverty see: A Thousand Gardens are Underway in Africa, A Sustainable Calling Plan, What Works: Connecting Producers to Consumers, Small is beautiful. Big is necessary.  

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.

Oct06

World Food Prize Recognizes Leadership in Agriculture, but More Policy Support Is Needed to Feed the World’s Hungry

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Policymakers around the world need to step up their efforts to combat hunger, malnutrition, and poverty by providing greater support for agriculture. The winners of this year’s World Food Prize show how policymakers and leaders who invest in their countries’ agricultural futures can make lasting change.

The World Food Prize this year will honor two heads of state who have invested in agriculture and reduced hunger and poverty in their countries. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

The World Food Prize, awarded each year since 1994 and sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan, recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world, thereby helping to boost global food security. This year, the prize will be awarded to John Agyekum Kufuor, the former president of Ghana, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil, for their outstanding achievements in reducing hunger in their countries. The ceremony will take place during the Borlaug International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, from October 12 to 14.

Both of this year’s World Food Prize recipients have made considerable contributions to their countries’ agricultural sectors. Under former Ghanaian President Kufuor’s tenure, both the share of people suffering from hunger and the share of people living on less than $1 dollar a day were halved. Economic reforms strengthened public investment in food and agriculture, which was a major factor behind the quadrupling of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) between 2003 and 2008. Because 60 percent of Ghana’s population depends directly on agriculture, the sector is critical for the country’s economic development.

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Oct01

Don’t waste energy, turn waste into energy

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By Graham Salinger

Nearly 2 million people die every year from water born diseases because