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General News Tue, 30 Sep 1997

Agric Ministry Moves To Avert Food Crisis In The North

Accra, (Greater Accra Region) 29, Sept. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture today said it is collecting data on the shortfalls in the staples cultivated in the Northern regions to enable it to avert any famine following erratic rainfall there. Mr Clement Bugase, deputy minister, told the GNA in an interview that the ministry is aware of this situation which occurs occasionally and is therefore preparing adequately to forestall any crisis. ''As soon as the report is ready, we will offer relief services to the affected communities and take the necessary action to ensure that there are no shortages nationwide.'' Ten days ago, the inter-NGO consortium in the Northern regions and the national disaster management organisation (NADMO) warned of an imminent food shortage in the Northern and Upper East regions this year due to the erratic rainfall pattern. The warning is based on a survey on the food security situation in the two regions carried out by the two organisations in May and August this year. The report painted a gloomy picture of the food situation and said the regions will need about 2,000 tonnes of grains to support worst affected homes. At Adaboya, a village in the Bongo district of the Upper East region, the people have started having raw millet for breakfast and lunch, while others feed on unripe sheanut and baobab fruits. The report was discussed at a meeting between members of lthe Northern regional coordinating council, NADMO and the consortium of NGO's prompted by the RCC to constitute a committee to work out strategies to respond to the looming crisis. The report said the shortfall in the food production in the regions is aggravated by the outbreak of the cerebro spinal meningitis in the North early this year and the 1994 and 1995 inter-ethnic conflicts. It said the prolonged drought had serious repercussions on the performance of early millet in the Upper East region which usually cushion the famine until the main staples mature to save the situation.

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