23 April 2009The heads of the two United Nations food agencies announced today that they would bolster efforts to reduce the impact of the global financial crisis on the millions of hungry and poor in Ghana. Although Ghana has experienced success in bucking the trend of increasing numbers of people going hungry worldwide, the population of 23 million faces threats from the global financial crisis, rising inflation, hikes in food prices and climate related setbacks, such as floods and droughts, warned the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).According to FAO figures, the estimated number of undernourished people in the West African country dropped steadily from 5.4 million people between 1990 and 1992 to 3 million between 1995 and 97. Ghana witnessed a further decrease to 1.9 million hungry people in the general population during the 2003-2005 period although the situation for undernourished children did not improve.“The global financial crisis is a major threat to the progress that Ghana has made in the fight against hunger and poverty,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran during a joint four-day visit to the country with FAO. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said that the country has shown that real progress against hunger, malnutrition and poverty “can be achieved through growth and diversity in agriculture and better access to food, but Ghana will need greater support in identifying and helping the millions of people who remain food insecure and vulnerable.”At the peak of the lean agricultural season in June and July, WFP and FAO will join forces to strengthen food security and nutritional well-being in the three northern regions of the country through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, via a joint programme targeting approximately half a million people. The initiative includes land reforestation and the construction of irrigation systems and small dams. FAO and WFP will also collaborate on the Purchase for Progress scheme, designed to shift local procurement to smallholder farmers.