Promoting food security in Ghana

“Having studied a Masters of Sustainable Systems in the field of food security and agri-food systems in Australia, I have gained expertise to contribute more meaningfully to the achievement of food security in Ghana,” explains Christiana Nafrah.

Christiana is a passionate member of the Australia Awards Women’s Network, whose goal is to advance opportunities for African women. She obtained her Masters in 2011 from the University of Queensland on a Scholarship funded by the Australian Government. Professionally, Christiana lends her enthusiasm to another noble cause in Ghana: the promotion of food security.

As an Agricultural Officer at the Statistics Research and Information Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Christiana works in tandem with her colleagues in support of the government’s efforts to improve food security in Ghana.

Christiana’s Department engages in various tasks to achieve this objective. This involves analysing agricultural production statistics to determine the availability of food and where it is being produced. The Directorate also determines the accessibility and affordability of food by collecting marketing statistics at farm gate, wholesale, retail, input and transport charges.

Being a staff member based at the Directorate’s Head Office, one of Christiana’s responsibilities is to assess stability indicators of food security in the country, the data of which was collected through a household food and nutritional security survey carried out for the first time in the country in late 2012.

This survey was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Health (Ghana Health Services). It also benefited from inputs from Burkina Faso development partners, namely the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and the Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahe (CILSS).

Christiana was directly involved in the process and was in charge of the training of nearly 150 survey enumerators from 77 districts across Ghana. She was also part of back-stopping and monitoring teams ensuring that the process in the field was progressing as planned.  The pilot survey was implemented in selected districts, reaching 1,000 agricultural households, which were randomly selected from the agricultural sample survey.

Survey data will provide critical inputs for policy formulation in the agricultural sector and inform decision-making with regard to food security measures going forward.

On another front, Christiana views herself as a team player, who uses a systems approach to solve real-life challenges. She believes she was able to develop a more inclusive and participatory approach to her work after her Masters, which helped enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace.

“I have gained effective leadership skills, management skills and the ability to manage and resolve conflicts in order to maximise productivity,” she adds.

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