A total of 805 million people worldwide are undernourished and malnutrition affects nearly every country on the planet.
As population estimates for 2050 reach over 9 billion, concerns about food security and nutrition have been dominating academic and policy debates.
The discussion must certainly descend to the local level where destruction of forest resources occurs with reckless abandon.
Forest and tree based system are therefore particular critical for food security and nutrition for the poorest and the most vulnerable.
At least, one in six people on the earth depends on the forest for livelihood and, by extension, survival.
Forest and trees have and continue to play a dominant role in keeping life, both human and other forms.
Forests and trees provide a vital source of food and nutrition to millions of people across the world.
There are several trees that play major roles in food security in Ghana especially in the Northern part of the country..
In the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District for instance, one tree that plays major role in food security is the borassus palm.
It is economically useful, and is widely cultivated in tropical regions. It is can be eaten raw or cooked for other purposes. It appears the borassus palm is commonly eaten in that part of the country.
It is common in Bawku in the Upper East region and part of Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo region, where it contributes to sustainable life.
Azumah Karim is one of those guys in Bawku who woke up early dawn to pick borassus palm as consumable food. Azumah ate the palm for over ten years.
An experienced, he said was good for him. “It was a privilege to get one of the fruits especially when the demand was so high among the peers,”
By then, we didn’t know the benefits but we were sure it was good for our system. Once you had almost one, you had accomplished a goal that day,” he added.
There is no single pattern of land use that provides different outcomes people find desirable to protect these trees, Karim is suggesting measures should be taken to protect such trees in the country.
Cecilia Konlan, Duut Agnes, and Konlanbik Konjitbong are all residents of Bunkpurugu who have eaten the palm either raw or in beverages. They enjoy the taste of the fruit and it has become one of their favorite foods.
Duut Agnes is a Senior High Students who has not thought of giving up taken the fruit. “It tastes sweet. You are attempted to take more after consuming one,” she smiled.
“Apart from the fact that, it is eaten, it is also used for roofing and other materials which last for a long time,’’ Queen Mother of Kanbagu, Konlanbik Konjitbong.
Though evidence of forests and trees playing an important role in food production and nutrition is indisputable, agriculture remains a major cause of deforestation.
870 million people go hungry every day globally meaning agricultural output must expand by an estimated 60 percent to meet global food needs.
But in many places across the world including countries like Ghana, deforestation triggered by escalating demand for food, fibre and fuel is degrading ecosystems, diminishing water availability and limiting the collection of fuelwood – all of which reduce food security, especially for the poor.
Natural forests are critical for the survival of forest-dwellers, including many indigenous peoples by protecting catchments.
Forests, trees and agroforestry systems contribute to food security and nutrition in many ways, but such contributions are usually poorly reflected in national development and food security strategies.
Coupled with poor coordination between sectors, the net result is that forests are mostly left out of policy decisions related to food security and nutrition.
The Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Food Security highlights the vital role of forests in improving food security.
It makes a convincing case for multi-functional and integrated landscape approaches for community level engagement to re-engineer agriculture and forestry systems.
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