Accra, March 21, GNA – Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing on Wednesday said Ghanaians had no option than to raise the profile of water for food security to the highest level.
In addition, action should be taken at all stages of the supply chain, from producers to consumers, to save water and ensure food for all.
Mr Mensah explained that Ghana had an agrarian based economy which relied heavily on rained-fed agriculture, therefore, soil and water management needed to be promoted to minimise land degradation and water pollution with the view to increasing total food supply-chain efficiency.
Mr Mensah made the observation on the floor of Parliament when presenting a statement to commemorate World Water Day 2012 on the theme; “Water and Food Security: Call for Solutions.”
The theme is to draw worldwide attention to the relationship between water and food security focusing on water scarcity, which already affects more than 40 per cent of the people on earth and is limiting the ability of farmers to produce enough food to eat or earn a living.
It is coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation; each year a different United Nations agency is selected to coordinate events surrounding the Day around the world and a different theme is chosen to reflect the many facets of freshwater resources.
Activities lined to observe the Day include; a durbar and flag hoisting ceremony at Asutsuare in the Greater Accra Region, would climax the celebrations with inter-schools debate, essay competitions for selected senior high and basic schools in the districts, radio and television programmes in Accra and local radio stations, as well as feature articles in the newspapers.
He said considering current trends and the future, the FAO stated that “Each of us needs to drink two to four litres of water daily. But it takes 2,000 to 5,000 litres of water to produce a person’s daily food".
Currently, there are over seven billion people to feed on the planet and this number is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. This combined with anticipated shifts in diets, means that 70 per cent more food will be needed, up to 100 per cent in developing countries.
"To be able to feed everybody, we first need to secure water, sufficient quantity and adequate quality. We will need to produce more food using less water, reduce food wastage and losses, and move towards more sustainable diets.”
Mr Mensah called on all and sundry to address water and food security in the country, adding that government would keep faith with its obligations and accordingly ensure that policies on water and food security met the needs of the most vulnerable, in particular local communities and small holder farmers and women.
He called on people to promote soil and water management to minimise land degradation and water pollution to increase total food supply-chain efficiency as a good and well maintained soil could capture much of the rain water and avoid surface run off that caused erosion and the loss of soil nutrients.
Mr Mensah announced that other interventions towards water and food security included, reduction of water and food losses and waste, safe re-use of waste water in agriculture, involvement of food security stakeholders, especially producer organisations in the formulation of water policies.