In this low-income, food-deficit country, agriculture once served as the basis of the economy—accounting for more than one-third of the GDP and 55 percent of employment—but now it only accounts for one-fifth of the GDP. Cash crops consist primarily of cocoa and cocoa products, which typically provide about one-third of export revenue.
The country is on track to achieve Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, but food security still remains a challenge, especially in the deprived three northern regions. Northern, Upper East and Upper West together make up 70 percent of the poor at the national level. Food insecurity rates in these regions range from 20 percent to 37 percent of the population (WFP Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment 2012). Stunting rates in Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions are 33.1, 14.4 and 22.2 percent respectively.
High food prices and marked disparities in national wealth have increased communities’ vulnerability to further food insecurity and malnutrition. More than 45 percent of the population still lives on less than $1.25 a day.