Ghanaian model teaches how home grown school feeding fights poverty

Panel members at the APPG and PCD meetingHome grown school feeding programmes have supported social and economic development in Ghana and can do so elsewhere in Africa.This was one of the key messages given by Food Prize Laureate and former Ghanaian President, H.E. John Kufuor, at a discussion on innovations to tackle food security held in the UK Houses of Parliament last week. 

The former Ghanaian president told the audience: “Over 60% of Africans depend on farming for their livelihoods and yet farming is not seen as a business by most farmers. Farming needs to be commercialised and approaches such as home grown school feeding provide the opportunity for this.” 

H.E. Kufuor described how school feeding initiatives such as the Ghana School Feeding Programme which sourced its food from local smallholder famers, benefited both school children and famers alike. School meals ensured that school children were properly nourished and more likely to attend school, whilst at the same time, farmers benefited from the increased access to the stable markets that school feeding programmes provided.  

H.E Kufuor was speaking at meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development. The meeting, chaired by Lords Boateng and Cameron, brought together parliamentarians, civil servants, academics and other representatives of civil society to discuss innovative ways to improve food security by linking local agriculture, nutrition and education.   

The meeting was co-organised with the Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College London, as part of their work in supporting governments in sub-Saharan Africa to implement Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programmes. These programmes see the delivery of cost effective school feeding sourced from local farmers. 

As well as supporting rural economies, school feeding interventions have been shown to bring more children to school and give food to those most in need. The criticality of this need has been recently highlighted by UN figures which revealed that approximately 93 million children worldwide are still not in school - the majority of these are girls and 80% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the proportion of children that are able to go to school in Africa, 24 million go to school hungry.  

As such, school feeding has been highlighted by the Education for All movement as a means by which countries can reach the millennium development goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and of achieving universal primary education. 

Alongside H.E. Kufuor, Dr Boitshepo Giyose, Food Nutrition Advisor for the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) spoke of how these programmes which integrate school health and nutrition interventions will improve educational achievement as healthy, well-fed children learn more efficiently. Professor Sir Gordon Conway from Imperial College London author of The Doubly Green Revolution agreed, “local food for local children” allows nutrition to bridge the gap between agriculture and health.  

In recent years locally sourced school feeding programmes have also become recognised by major players in international development as vital to tackling food security issues. 

Professor Don Bundy, lead health specialist at the World Bank, told the audience, the programmes bring children especially girls to school and keep them there. He said, “School feeding is universal, but the question is why? The main reason is that school feeding programmes serve as social safety nets. They serve as a means to provide to those in the greatest need.”  

During his address H.E. Kufuor reflected on the situation in Ghana when he was first appointed as the country’s president. He described how the economy had been stagnant, illiteracy rates were around 40-50% of the population and his journey to fight poverty and hunger had just begun. 

H.E. Kufuor’s government drew up what he called, “a master plan” which saw a holistic approach was taken involving areas of irrigation systems, transportation, agricultural infrastructure and marketing in addition to the provision of the school meals. Speaker Dr Boitshepo Giyose later described this as: “realising the whole approach works”. 

H.E. Kufuor also ensured local farmers had support, improving their crop production through training and the distribution of pesticides. His Excellency described how at this time, rather than a business deal this became known as “modernising agriculture”. 

The meeting, which Dr Boitshepo Giyose described as “testament” to changing attitudes towards locally home grown school feeding programmes, taught lessons of how remarkable leadership and the efficient implementation of these initiatives have protected the poor by improving food security. 


For further media information please contact Francis Peel at the Partnership for Child Development, Imperial College London, on 0207 594 3292 or by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Notes to Editors 

The Parliamentary Panel Discussion ‘Linking Local Agriculture, Nutrition & Education: Innovations to Improve Food Security’ took place on Wednesday 8th February from 6 – 7.30pm in Committee Room 10 of the Houses of Parliament.

The Partnership for Child Development (PCD) is a global consortium of civil society organizations, academic institutions and technical experts, with a Coordinating Centre based within the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College in London. Since the creation of PCD in 1992, it has been at the forefront of harmonizing multi-sectorial efforts to enable low-income countries to implement effective, scaled, and sustainable school health and nutrition programmes.    

HGSF is highlighted in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s (NEPAD) vision for nationally owned, sustainable programmes aimed at improving the food security of small holder farmers, many of whom are women. They are guiding governments to include HGSF as a key intervention within the food security pillar of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) framework. 

The All Parliamentary Panel Group on Agriculture and Food for Development - The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was established by Parliamentarians in October 2008 in response to growing concerns over the heightening food crisis and a steady decline in the funding of agricultural research for international development at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

Speakers at the event: 

Keynote Speaker, His Excellency John Kufuor, Former President of Ghana and 2011 World Food Prize Laureate. He is recognised for implementing major economic and educational policies that increased the quality and quantity of food to Ghanaians, enhanced farmers’ incomes, and improved school attendance and child nutrition through a nationwide feeding program. 

Professor Don Bundy, Lead Health Specialist, the World Bank – Professor Bundy has been a pioneer in raising the profile of school health and HIV prevention on the agendas of governments and development partners. Before joining the World Bank, he was a Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford University.  

Dr Boitshepo Giyose, Food and Nutrition Advisor, The New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Dr Giyose is the Senior Food and Nutrition Security Advisor for The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which is a programme of the African Union. 

Professor Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Agriculture for Impact, The Centre for Environmental Policy, Gordon Conway is a Professor of International Development at Imperial College, London where he is currently working on a grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation entitled ‘Agriculture for Impact’ which focuses on European support of agricultural development in Africa. 

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