The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has stated that government has put in place measures to mitigate the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) on food security and nutrition.
According to him, the country could lose up to 30 per cent of its production due to the adverse effects of COVID-19.
He said this could aggravate the already challenging effects of climate change and its associated effects and lead to shortfalls in the production of the major food crops, thus significantly affecting food and nutrition security in the country.
“It is against this background, that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation through its agencies have outlined measures to assess and strengthen existing nutrition emergency responses, risk assessments, and early warning surveillance systems to ensure a coordinated multi-sectoral approach to minimise the shock during and after the pandemic.
“These measures border on promoting local food production and consumption, creating food and nutrition database for better emergency preparedness, planning, supporting local industries with technical skills and technologies to process diverse nutritious food products and provide evidence-based guidelines for food consumption.”
Professor Frimpong-Boateng stated this in a press statement to mark the Day of Scientific Renaissance of Africa (DSRA) on Tuesday June 30, 2020.
The day was celebrated in accordance with the African Union resolution passed in Addis Ababa.
It was celebrated across Africa in remembrance of the continent’s great contribution to the rise and development of modern science and technology.
This year’s event was celebrated on the theme, “Rethinking food security and nutrition in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the ministry placed greater emphasis on food sovereignty, self-reliance, exploring diversification of crop production activities and the scaling up of underutilised crop species that were healthy and culturally accepted.
“Consciously, the belief was that critical measures needed to be taken immediately to protect and promote good nutrition to buttress government efforts in the health sector”, he said.
“That was why the sector ministry has over the years, been supporting the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in playing a leading role in adding value to food crops to produce instant fufu powders like plantain fufu, yam fufu and cocoyam fufu.
Commending CSIR for its innovative way of adding value to food crops in the country, the minister stated that, there was also the High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) for kokonte (a meal made from cassava flour), agblema (cassava dough), fortified gari, bakery and pastry products; Industrial cassava flour for the paper and textile industries and maize, rice, soya beans, and groundnuts for weaning foods, among others.
He also mentioned other innovations like the technologies on pre-cooked yam chips and chunks as convenient foods, fruit cocktail drinks and juices of pineapple, orange, mango, pawpaw, lemon grass, hibiscus calyx, noni, cashew, tiger nuts and others that had been developed by CSIR.
“Again, rice parboiling technology has been developed and transferred to women and the youth in rice growing areas in northern Ghana. The Chokor, Urismo and Ahotor ovens for fish smoking are among the several technologies developed for processing fish in Ghana by the institute,” he added.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR