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The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has marked this year’s biological biodiversity day to create awareness and increase the usefulness and dependence of biodiversity for food, nutrition and health purposes.
The biodiversity provides the local foods and medicinal herbs for human existence and wellbeing whiles contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 15, 14 , 2 and 3.
Speaking on the theme: “Our Biodiversity, our Food, Our Health,” the Sector Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, disclosed that, globally, countries continue to witness the disappearance of a number of indigenous crop varieties with a decline.
“Agro-biodiversity is disappearing and also essential knowledge of traditional medicines is lost in our local foods,” he said.
He said the global assessment report approved at the 7th session of the plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES-7) indicates the disappearance of local varieties and breeds of domestic plants and animals.
He said research has Indicated that the loss of diversity diets in the local foods is linked to diseases and bad health such as diabetes, obesity, malnutrition and also a direct impact on the availability of traditional medicines in the country.
“The loss of diversity, including genetic diversity, poses a serious risk to global food security by undermining the resilience of many agricultural systems to threats such as pests, pathogens and climate change,” he echoed.
He explained that the nation would not be able to achieve the SDGs even though it has transited to the green economy without the dependence of indigenous foods and medicines.
Prof. Boateng stressed that since the country aspires to achieve the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda in a real foreseeable future, there is the need to integrate and embrace into the system the consumption of local food and medicine.
“This includes the conservation of our land and water resources, use for food production, drinking water as well as safeguarding and restoring the agricultural landscapes and seascapes” he added.
He advised the public to support the production and consumption of healthy foods rich in vitamins and as well acknowledge the food cultures and knowledge of every tribe. He added that the government’s effort has led to the realization and conservation of some indigenous food crops.
The Minister commended the efforts of the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for their outstanding contributions in research for food crops a as means of increasing the value chain of cereals, roots and tubers, fruits and vegetables, animal produce for food industry in the country.
“It is with the benefit of hindsight that MESTI has developed a draft of National Biodiversity Policy to ensure the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity as national and equitable benefits to the present and future generation.” he added.
Source: Eric Nii Sackey