Ghana has managed to slash its number of hungry people more than any other country in a United Nations league table.Between 1990 and 2004; the west African country cut the amount of malnourished people by 75 per cent and more than halved the number of undernourished people from 34 per cent to 9 per cent in the same period. Ethiopia, which has struggled with food shortages, also brought down its percentage of hungry people by a big margin, from 71 per cent in 1990 to 46 per cent in 2004.
The league is part of in the preliminary findings of a report about the UN Millennium Development Goals by the UK-based think-tank, the Overseas Development Institute. The eight targets range from halving extreme poverty to stopping the spread of HIV/Aids and making sure every child gets primary school education by 2015. The first goal is to wipe out poverty and hunger. "Ethiopia has made a significant reduction in the numbers of undernourished, but it has not managed to halve the number as required by the Millennium Development Goals," said Liesbet Steer, who worked on the report.
Ghana has not had so many problems with fighting as most west African countries, but it still suffers food shortages. About 45 per cent of the population lives on less than US$1 a day and on the average, seven out of 10 people living in the country side are poor, according to figures from the world food programme. The situation is much worse in parts of northern Ghana where up to nine out of 10 people live below the poverty line.
The World Food Programme works with Ghana’s government to give 122,000 children in 304 schools daily cooked nutritious meals. It also gives girls in high schools take-home rations to encourage them to stay on at school. The organisation buys food for this mainly from within Ghana, backing the government’s ‘home-grown’ school feeding programme. By doing this, the programme both helps to improve girls’ education and boost farmers’ incomes.
The Overseas Development Institute will release detailed findings in September about what the countries have been doing right to bring down their numbers of hungry. The report comes out ahead of a meeting of the G-8 and G-20 countries, which begins in Canada today, which is also focused on progress towards reaching the Millenium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.