As leader of Ghana since 1981, President Rawlings has transformed his country from a condition of economic crisis to a model of self-reliance, consistently focusing on the need for increased food production.
During the implementation of a structural adjustment program, Ghana -- under Rawlings' leadership -- has been at the forefront in recognizing the impact of the austere measures required. To lessen the social hardships endured by those most vulnerable to structural change, Rawlings has launched initiatives to bolster employment, and to provide housing, sanitation, safe water and health care to rural populations.
With a view to strengthening people's participation in the development process, Rawlings has increased communication between the government and rural farmers. He has also supported the formation of cooperatives and women's organizations.
Rawlings spoke of Ghana's path toward self-reliance: "Our national recovery program depends on restoring the small-scale farmer to the center, not only of our agricultural and economic policy, but also of our social and political affairs."
Rawlings' vision is reflected in tangible results: Overall food production has steadily increased in the past decade, and Ghana has achieved self-sufficiency in three staple crops: maize, cassava and yams.