Home Economy Serious Hunger Hits Liberia… 2023 GHI Report Reveals

Serious Hunger Hits Liberia… 2023 GHI Report Reveals

by newsmanager

By: Linda Gbartie
MONROVIA: The 2023 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report has put Liberia in 117th place, out of the 125 countries with a score of 32.2.

The score, according to the Report, indicates that “Liberia has a level of hunger that is serious.”

The GHI is a peer-review annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH).

It is designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels.

Its scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger.

It is also designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions, and calls attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest.

The report has four key indicators which include child stunting, child wasting, child mortality, undernourishment.

However, the Country Director of Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH), Mr. Hubert Charles, has disclosed that the GHI data is not good for Liberia.

Mr. Charles made the disclosure on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, when he spoke via the Super Morning Show on ELBC Radio in Paynesville.

Mr. Charles highlighted that the GHI data for Liberia has been slowing down over the years though there has been some improvement but their concern is that the pace is too slow or stagnant except the data on general undernourishment which has increased a bit.

Speaking on the 2023 GHI Report on Liberia focusing on the power of youth in shaping food systems in Liberia, Mr. Charles said, the GHI is being released by Alliance 2015, a group comprising Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) that has been in existing for 18 years.

He said the Alliance 2015 is a global organization established in 2015 aimed at working together to address the issues of food security, nutrition in particular and to end hunger in the world.

According to Mr. Charles, the report encompasses data on global undernourishment, child wasting, child mortality and child stunting which are the four key indicators that they look at because they are critical to a country development.

He revealed that out of 125 countries that were assessed, Liberia ranks 117th and it has a Global Hunger Index of 32.2.

He explain that the lower a score is closer to zero, the less hungry the people are and the higher the score, the hungrier the people are. So Liberia having a score of 32 means the country has a serious situation with hunger.

The WHH Country Director added that Liberia is rated 35.9 for undernourishment.

He emphasized that in ranking, “it is only Niger in the Sub-region that is doing worse than Liberia” which means Liberia is not doing well at all.

“For child stunting Liberia ranked about 29.8% of children under 5 years, child wasting is about 4.3% of children under 5 years, and child mortality is about 8.8%. These are not good data for Liberia however, this has been slowing down over the years and it has been improving and our concern is the pace is too slow so all have been improving or stagnant except general undernourishment which has increased a bit,” he said.

Additionally, Mr. Charles mentioned that the report was done through secondary data that has already been published in the public domain and was consolidated with the collection of a local data. He emphasized that the data they have is not different from figures in other systems.

“The government of Liberia has used the GHI report and data and the good thing is that we are working with the government to address these issues. The government has recognized that this is an issue and together with civil society they have put in place programs.

Last year the government through the Ministry of Agriculture did an assessment with the collected data and it was not very different from what we have and based on those data, we designed programs, for example, we are doing nutrition sensitive agriculture that is promoting food production.

Concern Worldwide and WHH are working with women groups and other groups to boost food production, value addition etc.,” he noted.

Speaking on some of WHH programs in the fight against hunger, Mr. Charles said in the areas where WHH works cassava production has more than double and there has been value addition wherein they were able to procure machines and the farmers are producing gari and other products that are being made from the cassava.

He continued: Because of this, the community that we work with are putting stop to mining and they are able to buy food supplements and improve on their nutrition and status and also, they are growing vegetables. We are promoting kitchens garden where farmers grow vegetables and we are linking them to markets because the vegetable production is booming because it is hardly perishable. We have in some cases improved on farm to markets roads so that people are able to sell their products because in most cases about 5 or 6 months a year you can’t get to some counties due to bad road conditions”.

The WHH Country Director maintained that they are working in the entire Southeastern region of Liberia because if you look at the Liberian data that is where the worst indicators are.

“We work in the most deprived areas, Grand Gedeh, Rivercess, Sinoe, etc. all of these counties have poor indicators on health, nutrition and food security.

“Promoting local content is very critical and they want to work with the government at all times that they are able to generate the local economy and increase food production, improve the condition of the youth by including them in policies but also the implementation which is the value addition,” he recommended.

For his part, the Program Manager Agriculture, Food Security and Livelihood of Concern Worldwide, Mohamed Alpha, speaking on the factors responsible for hunger in Liberia revealed that Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe have been working towards this direction and they have overtime observed, studied and came up with few things that are really responsible for hunger in Liberia, some of which is around poverty level.

Mr. Alpha said most of the counties they normally work and operate in, the level of poverty is still dominant.

He stressed that climate change is also affecting food production because there is long rain fall and rain during the dry season which is becoming an issue.

Meanwhile, Mr. Alpha said that there are inadequate infrastructure such as good roads and market linkages that are mostly linked to good roads. For example, he said in places like Rivercess and Sinoe Counties where WHH and Concern Worldwide have been working for quit a long time during the rainy season you see food that gets spoil along the way as well as trucks load with goods but they can’t reach to places where they are supposed to reach and all of these things are contributing factors that are definitely responsible for hunger.

“We are not doing too well in this direction and these are things we are trying to push in the GHI report,” he noted.

Furthermore, speaking on the role Concern Worldwide is playing to better the situation as it relates to the GHI data, Mr. Alpha said they have ensured one thing that is critical is capacity building of farmers mother groups which they working with in Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties.

“We are ensuring that advance agriculture trainings using climate-smart agriculture approaches are part of our work and also that nutrition sensitive agriculture is part of the training so whatever food that is being produced is deliberate,” he said.

The GHI reports revealed that 43 countries have alarming or serious levels of hunger and 18 countries has moderate, serious and alarming hunger levels have higher 2023 GHI scores than 2015 and 58 countries will fail to reach a low level of hunger by 2030. It also shows that while some countries have made significant headway in reducing hunger little progress has been made on a global scale since 2015 and hunger remains serious or alarming in 43 countries.

Undernourishment is the share of the population with sufficient caloric intake, child stunting has to do with children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition, child wasting are also children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition and child mortality are children who die before their fifth birthday, partly reflecting the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.

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