Dr. David Dodoo-Arhin, Ag. Director IAST and Prof.John Ofosu-Anim, Dean, School of Agriculture (L to R)
The stakeholder meeting was also held to inform key stakeholders about the project and to afford them an opportunity to provide input for the study. Participants were drawn from the Dairy Farmers and Processors Association of Ghana, Research and Development Division of Ghana Health Service, Food and Drugs Authority, Food Research Institute, Women in Agricultural development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Farm Radio International, Rite FM and other select media.
Professor John Ofosu-Anim who chaired the meeting, indicated that the aim of the study was to understand the barriers and facilitators to milk and dairy consumption among women of reproductive age and young children under age five within the Greater Accra and Eastern Regions of Ghana. Adding that animal source foods such as milk and other dairy products are essential for human development, however, data from the Demographic and Health Survey in 2009 and 2015 suggest that, consumption of these products are low among women of reproductive age and children under age five. The project focuses on women of reproductive age and children under the age of five because studies have indicated that, they are the most vulnerable when it comes to malnutrition.
Prof. Ofosu-Anim said this alarming trend puts these groups at a higher risk of malnutrition and that the consumption of milk and dairy products could positively impact their nutrition.
Dr. Niilante Amissah, Principal Investigator
Dr. Niilante Amissah, the principal Investigator on the project in presentation explained that Ghana has a record of high rates of child malnutrition and interventions are needed to break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. Some of these nutrition problems he stated, include anthropometric deficits and micronutrient malnutrition. In this regard, he emphasized that micronutrients in milk are essential for breaking the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.
Dr. Amissah disclosed that Heifer International distributed 370 Jersey cows to farmers in Ghana in the year 2007. He said these Jersey cows have the capacity to produce about 20 litres of milk per day if well fed. He also mentioned that Amrahia farms is using artificial insemination to cross breed Jersey cows with local breeds to improve upon the disease resistance of the Jersey cows and to increase the milk production of the local breeds.
Dr. Amissah added that efforts are being made to assist the nation to have its own dairy industry. In this regard, there have been proposals calling for the establishment of a dairy board in Ghana to facilitate the production and consumption of dairy.
The interactive segment was moderated by the Ag. Director, IAST, Dr. David Dodoo-Arhin. He urged the audience to share views and ask questions which will input into the study. The stakeholders present showed keen interest in the research and contributed their challenges, their perceptions of fresh milk and success stories from their experiences in the dairy industry. Some participants mentioned challenges such as feeding animals all year round to enable them get enough milk, transportation of the animals for crossing and having few Jersey cows which hampers their ability to produce milk to meet demand.
Mrs. Stella Amoa, Director, Public Affairs and Co-PI, Dr. Angela Parry Hanson-Kunadu (L to R).
Other issues discussed included milk safety, cold storage and the available media for educating and communicating with key stakeholders.
Dr. Christiana Nti, Head, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Co-PI’s on the Study(L to R) Dr. Gloria Otoo, Dr. Maame Yaakwah Blay Adjei and Dr.Esi Colecraft
In his closing remarks, the Chairman stated that the contributions made by participants will go a long way to inform the study and tackle salient issues in the dairy value chain to enhance maternal and child nutrition outcomes.
A cross-section of participants at the Meeting