OUR AGRICULTURE HAS FARED WELL UNDER DR OWUSU AFRIYIE AKOTO AS MINISTER

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Agric minister

Former Ministers of the first-term Akufo-Addo administration who delivered satisfactorily in their respective sectors are many.

From Health and Education, through Trade and Industry as well as Youth and Sports and the national economy, to Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the list is tall.

That also implies capacity and ability on the part of the appointing authority in picking and guiding his team to deliver on the sacred mandate of improving lives and livelihoods in a nation that had since 2012, under John Dramani Mahama, fared ill by all development parameters.

Lifeblood of a nation

Agriculture has since Adam been the lifeblood of the average nation and state since an army marches on its stomach. That is why it is fitting to recognize any effort and persons who spearheaded the transformation of our agricultural landscape to higher heights and beyond our borders.

But that is also why we need to hallow sectors like our regional integration in creating platforms for economic interaction and integration to promote our agricultural initiatives.

Regional integration

As it is evident, Ghana’s success story cannot be highlighted without reference to enhanced structures that facilitate trade and regional integration or marketing of crop and livestock commodities produced in our Savannah or northern regions.

It is imperative to recognise that commodities from our country, today, are earning the nation some modest foreign exchange as ordinary citizens, predominantly women, labour day and night to move fresh commodities ‘Made in Ghana,’ including smoked fish and brooms, bread and Kumasi shoes, across into neighbouring Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso for sale.

Planting for Food and Jobs

Indeed, such has been the vibrant nature of the structures that, under the Planting for Food and Jobs and Planting for Export programmes, among several other agro initiatives, which we have recorded successes in, job generation along the agricultural value chain has been recognised by farmers and input dealers in the Upper West and for which reason they are endorsing Dr Akoto as Minister of Food and Agriculture.

It is in that regard that we at the Daily Statesman join the association in endorsing him as Minister of Agriculture in the light of the level of competence he has shown for his age.

Unlike the John Mahama scam Savannah Acceleration Development Authority, the government’s agro initiatives have been truly profitable and vibrant.

According to Alaska B Nantog, leader of an Upper West based farmers’ group, the government’s agro initiative has become a major source of blessing to residents in the region and their families. According to him, he and his colleagues previously had to struggle in vain for inputs and, particularly quality fertilizers, to enable them stay in business and compete with their neighbours just across the border.

Little wonder, they had to admit that when Dr Akoto took charge, “things improved for the better.”

Moving agriculture from the realms of community and nation into regional integration is proof of a nation’s commitment to development and improving lives and livelihoods. And that is why we must also commend the other relevant sectors for their role in igniting agriculture and trade as a serious nation.

Falling in step

While we do that, however, we would also urge other actors in the northern regions, particularly the Upper East, to strive to regain their dominant role in helping the nation fairly compete in vegetable production, in saving the country modest revenue as the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam project takes off under the Akufo-Addo administration.

They cannot afford to allow themselves to be left behind in the unfolding development as major actors.

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