Food and Agricultural minister nominee, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has expressed his confidence in turning the country into a food basket for the West African sub-region. The minister-designate who was speaking during his vetting on Tuesday when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of parliament noted that this is going to be achieved under his special initiative called “Planting for Food and Jobs.”
This, he explained, would be possible through the collaboration with the private sector to invigorate agriculture for higher food productivity for the nation to become the food hub of West Africa, adding that through this, ‘Ghana can actively supply food for the rest of West Africa.’
He noted that the operation would engage all Government officials, Members of Parliament, Chief Executives, and in all the 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
Reminiscent of a similar programme called “Operation Feed Yourself” in the 1970s, where Ghanaians were encouraged to use every spared space to plant a food crop, Dr Akoto announced that the Government would provide special packages for signees on the programme and focused on some selected cash and food crops.
He spoke of a similar programme in neighbouring La Cote d’Ivoire and expressed strong hope that Ghana could beat her neighbour if the operation was vigorously pursued.
The programme, scheduled to take off next March in the next farming season, he said was expected to create more than 750,000 jobs for the youth.
‘Ghana over the next four years will get to the stage of La Cote d’Ivoire or better,” he emphasized. Ghana has great potential in all kinds of cash crops, except that we have not set ourselves up for the growth,’ the Former Member of Parliament for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region assured.
The former Minority Spokesperson on Agriculture identified low productivity as the main challenge to agriculture and attributed the lack of interest in the sector and cocoa farming to poor returns.