Professor Felix Ankoma Asante, Director, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), has stressed the need to craft policy to improve agricultural practices to promote food safety, nutrition security and healthy productive lives.
Professor Asante, said the Agricultural sector should no longer be concerned only with yield increases, but also with the need to ensure food safety and significantly reduce the disease burden or prevent diseases altogether.
He noted that poor agricultural practices were linked to the prevalence of food-borne diseases which had become major causes of morbidity and mortality.
He said pre-mature deaths had become common in middle-income countries through diet-related diseases such as chronic malnourishment or undernourishment, leading to stunting, wasting and underweight individuals, especially among children, resulting in cognitive challenges, while overweight and obesity had become the leading causes of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Professor Asante also noted that the most common means of infection from zoonotic diseases had been through food production while chemical residues in food were also significantly impacting on the health of consumers with dire consequences for labour and productivity, national economies and economic development.
He was delivering his inaugural lecture on Thursday, March 28, 2019 the topic: The linkage between Agriculture, Nutrition and Health―issues for research and policy.
Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, said good health could only be sustained through quality nutrition.
Professor Owusu added that agricultural practices had a direct bearing on food safety and the health of consumers of agricultural produce, citing microbial diseases and insecticide residual elements emanating from poor vegetable production practices.
He said if food would not guarantee good health, then it was not worth eating it.
Inaugural lectures present opportunities for discussion of the University's research works. They also showcase the focus and direction of academic work and help create a better awareness of the University's achievements.
Present at the event were various categories of the University community who presented gifts to Prof. Asante.
These included the College of Humanities, University of Ghana; Department of Agricultural Economics and Agronomics; Ghana Association of Agricultural Economists; Ghana Chamber of Petroleum and the Alumini for Consumers, Ghana.
The others were the Ghana-German Centre for Development Studies; Mentees of Professor Asante; School of Social Sciences, University of Ghana; and the Department of Social Work, University of Ghana.
The rest were Legon Hall, University of Ghana P.H.D. students of ISSER, the 1983 Year-Group of the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School, Legon and Professor Asante's family members.