FAO Regional Office for Africa

The European Union funds a 10 Million Euro FAO Project to Boost Food Security in Northern Ghana

Responding to the risk of food insecurity in the northern part of the country caused by global challenges

In the face of escalating global challenges, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are taking a decisive step towards alleviating food insecurity and malnutrition in Northern Ghana. The EU-funded "EU Food Security Response in Northern Ghana" project, launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, provides much-needed support and hope for vulnerable households grappling with the harsh impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,  conflict in Ukraine, and climate variability.

Global events, local effects

Like many nations worldwide, the ripple effects of conflict in Ukraine have exacerbated Ghana's already fragile food system. Supply chain disruptions have increased food prices, putting immense strain on smallholder farmers' livelihoods and the country's budgets. Recent data from the November 2022 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) revealed that approximately 19% of the population was food security stressed, with 6% in crisis and 0.2% in emergency situations. Due to their economic vulnerability, smallholder farm households bore the brunt of this crisis.

"Ghana, like many African countries, has felt the cascading global crises' effects, particularly regarding food security. That is why all stakeholders need to come together to develop sustainable and robust local value chains that improve people's livelihoods and strengthen food systems to stave off the possibility of acute food insecurity," said Yurdi Yasmi, FAO Representative to Ghana.

A robust response through partnership and investment

However, the EU Food Security Response in Northern Ghana project aims to reverse this trend. By promoting crop-specific, agroecological systems and sustainable development practices, the project will target key value chains such as maize, millet, sorghum, soybean, groundnut, vegetables (tomato), poultry, and piggery. The comprehensive approach includes providing agricultural inputs, training on climate-adapted farming practices, improving grain storage technologies, promoting organic fertilizer use, and harnessing solar-powered irrigation solutions.

"The Government appreciates the EU and our reliable partner, the FAO, coming in at the time when the need to refocus our food systems to deliver on nutrition and resilience is being consummated into the Planting for Food and Jobs, Phase II programme,[Y(1] [SOB2] " remarked Hon. Bryan Acheampong, Minister for Food and Agriculture.

The project's multifaceted strategy also emphasizes integrated pest and disease management. It facilitates access to markets, enabling value addition for crops. With these initiatives in place, it aims to eliminate production and post-harvest bottlenecks, enhancing food security and resilience against future shocks and disasters.

Impacting lives, livelihoods, and the most vulnerable.

At the heart of this initiative is a commitment to support at least 10 000 households (approx. 50 000 people) over three agricultural seasons. This includes backing 6 000 maize farmers to produce approximately 18 000 metric tons of maize, assisting 2 400 millet farmers in producing over 5 000 metric tons of millet, and empowering 4 200 sorghum farmers to yield about 8 000 metric tons of sorghum, all within targeted districts. Furthermore, the project will equip farmers, especially women and youth, with the tools and knowledge to thrive in the groundnut, soybean, and vegetable (tomato) value chains. These efforts will bolster capacity in climate change adaptation, enhance market access, and provide financial services while improving communication on pests and diseases affecting animals and crops.

"This 10 million Euro emergency measure has been mobilized in record time and represents the commitment and solidarity of the EU and its Member States in the face of the rising cost of food and to safeguard food security and transitioning to more resilient food systems in Ghana," said the EU ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly.

The signing ceremony to commemorate this vital project's commencement saw key stakeholders unite, committing to addressing food security challenges. The project aligns with the Ghanaian government's Food Security Agenda. It will significantly contribute to the second phase of the Ghana Planting for Food and Jobs program (PFJ 2) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).