Ghana: New report charts path for Africa's nutrition revolution

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is having a positive impact in countries that have implemented its recommendations, according to the 2015 Annual Trends and Outlook Report  (ATOR) released Tuesday in Accra, Ghana.

The report, which outlines how agriculture and food systems can improve food security and improve the health and productivity in Africa, was released by the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), a programme facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in partnership with other Africa based Consortium of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres.

“Improving food security is not only about making sure people are consuming adequate calories, but ensuring that diets provide adequate nutrients for the healthy growth and development of Africa’s children and the health and wellbeing of all people,” said Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI Director for Africa.

“This report shows that policymakers must not only monitor nutrition outcomes but set ambitious targets and design appropriate strategies to achieve these. The first step to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth in Africa is to reduce hunger and malnutrition which rob the continent of its human resource potential.”

Authors of the report examined the current status of nutrition in Africa, including progress in meeting Malabo nutrition targets, and emphasized the importance of dietary quality and diversity.

They also addressed how the agricultural sectors could ensure that food systems deliver more nutritious and nutrient dense foods.

According to the report, including nutrition indicators in national monitoring, and evaluation systems is essential for holding governments accountable.

On that account, the ATOR has emphasized the importance of strengthening human and institutional capacities for mainstreaming nutrition, wider implementation of programmes and coordinating policies and programmes across sectors more efficiently.

Among other things, the report found that statistics and trends indicated a need for more concerted effort in tackling a triple burden of malnutrition in Africa that includes reducing undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity.

Also, it found that the potential nutritional impact of existing food policies (including agricultural subsidies) should be reviewed, and reforms should be initiated for those policies that are likely to have adverse effects on people’s dietary quality and body weight.

In addition, the report said: "It is essential to harness the potential for science, technology, and innovation to reduce post-harvest losses and food waste; promote product diversification with nutritious foods; improve processing to extend shelf life and make healthy foods easier to prepare; and improve storage and preservation to retain nutritional value, ensure food safety, and extend seasonal availability."

According to ATOR, comprehensive monitoring and evaluation systems, complete with key nutrition indicators and contextualized evidence, are needed to evaluate the impact of comprehensive investment plans on nutrition and attainment of the international, continental, and national commitments for growth, development, and nutrition.

Overall, the analysis of CAADP indicators showed that countries that have been in the CAADP process the longest and those that have gone through most of the levels of the CAADP process have tended to register better outcomes in most of the indicators reviewed, thus highlighting the positive impact of CAADP.

The report was released at the 2016 ReSAKSS Annual Conference organized by IFPRI in partnership with the African Union Commission in Accra.
-0- PANA AR 18Oct2016

18 october 2016 18:46:17

xhtml CSS