eCite Digital Repository

Understanding the impact of historical policy legacies on nutrition policy space: economic policy agendas and current food policy paradigms in Ghana


Thow, AM and Apprey, C and Winters, J and Stellmach, D and Alders, R and Aduku, LNE and Mulcahy, G and Annan, R, Understanding the impact of historical policy legacies on nutrition policy space: economic policy agendas and current food policy paradigms in Ghana, International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 10, (12) pp. 909-922. ISSN 2322-5939 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Pending copyright assessment - Request a copy

DOI: doi:10.34172/IJHPM.2020.203


The global food system is not delivering affordable, healthy, diverse diets, which are needed to address malnutrition in all its forms for sustainable development. This will require policy change across the economic sectors that govern food systems, including agriculture, trade, finance, commerce and industry – a goal that has been beset by political challenges. These sectors have been strongly influenced by entrenched policy agendas and paradigms supported by influential global actors such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This study draws on the concept of path dependency to examine how historical economic policy agendas and paradigms have influenced current food and nutrition policy and politics in Ghana. Qualitative data were collected through interviews with 29 relevant policy actors, and documentary data were collected from current policies, academic and grey literature, historical budget statements and World Bank Group Archives (1950-present).
Despite increased political priority for nutrition in Ghana, its integration into food policy remains limited. Food policy agendas are strongly focused on production, employment and economic returns, and existing market-based incentives do not support a nutrition-sensitive food supply. This policy focus appears to be rooted in a liberal economic approach to food policy arising from structural adjustment in the 1980s and trade liberalization in the 1990s, combined with historical experience of ‘failure’ of food policy intervention and an entrenched narrowly economic conception of food security.
This study suggests that attention to policy paradigms, in addition to specific points of policy change, will be essential for improving the outcomes of food systems for nutrition. An historical perspective can provide food and health policy-makers with insights to foster the revisioning of food policy to address multiple national policy objectives, including nutrition.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Nutrition Policy; Food Policy; Economic Policy History; Ghana
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Public health nutrition
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Stellmach, D (Dr Darryl Stellmach)
ID Code:154590
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Policing and Emergency Management
Deposited On:2022-12-13
Last Modified:2022-12-14

Repository Staff Only: item control page