THE World Food Programme’s (WFP) local procurement of grain from Ghana increased from $200,000 in 2003 to about $1.7 million in 2007.
In 2003, WFP shifted from acquiring its food inflows completely from external sources to local procurement, resulting in the local procurement of 60 per cent of its food requirements of maize, corn, soya blend, vegetable oil, iodised salt and sugar to feed the needy.
The commitment of WFP to local procurement has seen an increase in the value of the acquisition of local grain. The programme had, therefore, devoted $16.2 million to purchase 35,169 metric tones of grain in Ghana.
Sources at the WFP indicated that it had used the local procurement of grain to assist the government of Ghana in its education, health and nutritional requirements of hungry and poor households in a sustainable manner, while at the same time increasing the demand for domestic farm produce.
The advantages of the local procurement, according to the sources, were to ensure that the appropriate commodities were at hand at the right time, in a cost effective manner.
It was also to support market development and improve farmer incomes while boosting the economies of countries as trade and aid naturally result from the local procurement.
The local procurement of grain had gone into WFP’s food assistance for women and children, basic education support programmes, as well as its Supplementary Feeding and Health and Nutrition and Education to Boost Maternal and Early Childhood Nutrition and Education Programme, a collaborative effort between WFP and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), that has been ongoing in northern Ghana since 1995.
Under these programmes, about 60,000 children between the ages of six months and five years, pregnant and nursing mothers, 42,000 girls from the basic to the secondary level, 290,000 basic schoolchildren and many more others have benefited from take-home rations, on-site school feeding and other activities that enhance gender parity in education, basic education attendance and nutrition.
The WFP in 2006, bought 2 million metric tonnes of food worth $601 million from eighty-four countries, 70 of which were developing countries.
The largest percentage of food purchases worth $200 million came from Africa.
Figures of purchases by value and country income level for 2006 showed that Ghana was included in the developing countries where the largest percentage, that is 42 per cent of WFP’s purchases world-wide, came from.
DAILY GRAPHIC, TUESDAY MARCH 4, 2008