The government’s total budget allocations towards the fight against hunger in the country more than doubled in 2020 as it increased significantly by GH¢650.9 million compared to 2019. This represents an increment of 188.07%. More specifically, government spending towards the Zero Hunger (SDG 2) has increased from a sum of GH¢346.1 million in 2019 to GH¢997 million in 2020.
The devastating effects of the COVID-19 manifested in many people losing their jobs and livelihoods, thus, resulting in a rise in the number of hungry people across the globe. The fight against hunger is in line with the second goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG 2 aims at eradicating hunger or achieving Zero Hunger by 2030. More specifically, it aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
According to the Finance Ministry (MoF), the government provided the majority of the funds for this goal, contributing GH¢ 272.9 million in 2020. The Annual Budget Fund Amount (ABFA) contributed GH¢225.9 million whilst DP also provided GH¢ 455.6 million. Furthermore, IGF also contributed an amount of GH¢ 8 million whilst Statutory Funds amounted to GH¢ 34.3 million.
Meanwhile, data from the MoF show that Target 2.1, universal access to safe and nutritious food, received the highest funding of GH¢ 819.3 million. The targets funded under this Goal were 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.a, 2.b, and 2.c.
Furthermore, national-level programs took a greater portion of the total budget allocation towards the fight against hunger in the country. The amount earmarked for national-level programs under SDG 2 in 2020 was GH¢ 878.8 million. On the other hand, GH¢ 118.2 million was apportioned to the district-level programs under Goal 2.
The main source of funding for the district-level programs under Goal 2 in 2020 was Development Partners (DP). DP contributed an amount of GH¢ 71 million at the district level.
Regional analyses further revealed that the Ashanti, Eastern, and Upper West were the top three regions that received funding under this Goal. The three regions received corresponding amounts of GH¢ 14 million, GH¢ 13.5 million, and GH¢ 13.1 million respectively.
Furthermore, MoF stated that Ghana has made progress in reducing poverty and hunger among its population over the last two decades. However, it bemoaned the fact that hunger is still prevalent in the northern part of the country.
“Unfortunately, there is some disparity between the north and the south, which is in large part due to Ghana’s geography. Ghana depends mostly on rain-fed agriculture, with less than 1 % of cultivated land being irrigated. Northern Ghana has only one rainy season, while Southern Ghana has two rainy seasons. This, to a large extent, accounts for the difference in food production. Climate change has also aggravated the situation with increasingly erratic rainfall patterns and prolonged dry seasons”.
Also, MoF highlighted several programs and initiatives the government is undertaking to ensure food security in the country . According to MoF, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture continued the roll-out of activities in the National Agricultural Investment Plan. This is the Investing for Food and Jobs (IFJ) which spans the period 2018-2021.
MoF cited the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ); Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ); Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD); and Greenhouse Villages as some key initiatives.
Also, Agricultural Mechanization is also another key program that the government has rolled out. Other complementary interventions include Irrigation and Water Management, Agricultural Marketing, and Post-Harvest Management.
Meanwhile, the fight against hunger has been relatively progressive over the past 15 years. Globally, the proportion of malnourished people declined from 15% in 2000-2002 to 11% in 2014-2016. After decades of steady decline, the number of people who suffer began to slowly increase in 2015.
Furthermore, the 2020 UN SDG Report indicates that almost 690 million people were undernourished in 2019. Also, an estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food in 2019. If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger will surpass 840 million by 2030, or 9.8 % of the global population.
READ ALSO: Gov’t spent GH¢ 1.5 billion on SDG 1 in 2020