Hunger and Poverty Reduction in Ghana

Although it is still officially classified as a low-income food deficit country, over the past two decades, Ghana has made significant progress both in halving poverty from 58 to 29 percent and in reducing undernourishment from 64 percent in 1979 to 18 percent in 2006. If this progress is sustained, the country will be on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and hunger by 2015.

However, these impressive national achievements conceal a wide socio-economic gap between the southern and northern sections of the country. Ghana’s northern regions face grim poverty and severe seasonal food shortages.

The main occupation in this area is rain-fed farming which is carried out at a subsistence level and is confined to a short rainy season. As a result, most people are vulnerable to chronic food insecurity and abject poverty for the most part of the year. Five out of ten people in the Northern Region are considered poor. The figure climbs up to nine out of ten people in the Upper West Region, the poorest part of the country. Nearly half of all children under five years of age are malnourished, more than twice the national average.

Recurrent natural disasters such as severe droughts and floods in 2007, coupled with global food and fuel price volatility in 2008, further heightened vulnerability to poverty, hunger and disease, as most people in northern Ghana were unable to cope and had resort to a reduction in the quality, and quantity of their meals.

Reported by World Food Programme, Country Profile for Ghana

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