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General News of Friday, 15 February 2008

Source: GNA

IFAD throws searchlight on worsening world food security

From Nana Kodjo Jehu-Appiah, GNA Special Correspondent, Rome

Rome, Feb. 15, GNA- The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Thursday concluded a two-day Council Meeting in Rome where it threw the searchlight on the worsening world food security situation, in line with global climactic changes and rising cost of commodities.

The meeting also pushed for policy guidelines in the 164-member countries to tackle the problems.

Mr. Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, who is Ghana's representative on the Council, made this known to journalists at the end of the meeting.

He said the rising cost of food, pegged at an average of 37 per cent was a stark reality, quoting figures from Germany where the price of butter rose to 45 per cent and milk 25 per cent within a year. Mr Debrah said contrary to public view, food prices in Ghana had remained stable despite the floods and drought that affected parts of the country.

He said the meeting, which also marked the 30 years anniversary of IFAD established a committee as a follow-up to the eighth replenishment meeting of the world body to rake in the expected money to boost agricultural production.

The Agricultural Minister said the committee would work with the Executive Council of IFAD to explore how to replenish the fund to meet its core objectives of reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries.

Mr Debrah noted that, it takes up to a year before IFAD receive money mainly through pledges from member countries and multilateral institutions.

Vice President Alhaji Mahama gave the keynote address at the conference on Wednesday where he called for a global approach to run-down poverty and hunger. Ghana has benefited more from the fund than any other country in the West African Sub-Region mainly through concessional loans for agriculture.

So far, the country has attracted 178.4 million dollars from the organisation to improve and diversify the livelihood of Ghanaians in a sustainable manner. IFAD activities are guided by the strategic framework spanning 2007 to 2010.

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