THE World Food Programme (WFP) is purchasing 1200 metric tons of locally grown rice worth over US$700,000 from farmers in the Northern Region.
This is part of efforts to boost the local rice industry and provide sustainable incomes to the farmers.
The WFP Country Director Mr. Ismail Omer disclosed this at a community durbar at Pong-Tamale in the Savelugu/Nanton District of the Northern Region. The occasion was marking the World Food Programme and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) collaboration that aimed to improve food security in Ghana.
According to the Country Director, the WFP and MCC had been working together in recent times to ensure food security in the country to make the country independence of food supply.
“Between 2007 and 2009, under our local procurement programme, we bought over 6,000 metric tons of rice, beans and maize from MCC/MiDA funded farmers,” he stated.
He said his organisation bought maize worth US $2.2 million worth from Ghanaian farmers last year for its operations in Niger while,1000 metric tons of the same commodity worth US$360,000 was bought last year for some of its operations in parts of the country.
He said the WFP was supporting the government to provide access to nutrition and education for vulnerable and hunger stricken communities in Ghana and Africa.
He said the programme also supports the National School Feeding programme with neals in almost 800 deprived schools.
“Currently, we provide food and nutrition supplements to mothers and children at risk of malnutrition, and people living with HIV and their families,” he added.
The MCC Deputy Resident Country Director, Ms Gretchen Gigi Goodhart said that the MCC was also funding the construction of agribusiness centres (ABCs) to serve as a consolidating point for rice, and maize.
She said that the construction was expected to be completed by the end of 2011.
“Through the ABCs farmers will be able to process and store their crops in a modern, well-equipped privately operated facility” she added.
The District Chief Executive for Savelugu/Nanton Mr. Prince Askia Mahammed lauded the MCC, the government of the United States of America and WFP for their contribution to to socio-economic conditions of the people in Ghana.
He thanked these organisations for their interventions in the district that were addressing key concerns of theMillennium Development Goals of reducing hunger and malnutrition, eliminating extreme poverty, ensuringenvironmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.