A former Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, says his agenda to become President is anchored on his commitment to exploit the prospects of the four new agro-based institutions, which he innovated as Minister, to trigger productivity in weaning the country from the clutches of the IMF and other international donor bodies.
These institutions, he stated, are the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), Grains Development Authority (GDA), Horticultural Development Authority (HDA) and the Poultry Development Authority (PDA).
In an interview with the media, he said if the four new institutions are properly taken care of, and the prospects well exploited, they will help in turning the economic fortunes of the country around.
Dr Afriyie Akoto stressed that they would also generate enough revenue to fund other developmental projects.
He said for him to achieve this, he must first cross the hurdle of the flagbearer contest of the New Patriotic Party (NPP),.
“There is something unique about the Akufo-Addo government. Major part of the foundation has been laid. An institution like COCOBOD – from 1947, no commodity authority had been created, but now we have the Tree Crop Development Authority. We have the Grains Development Authority, which is in Parliament, is expected to be passed into law,” he said.
He said his Ministry also had the Horticultural Development Authority and the Poultry Development Authority to specifically tackle the areas of development in these sub-sectors. He added that these are specific areas that are going to be the new phase in Ghana’s development.
He believes that if government cultivates these institutions effectively, Ghana will be out of the clutches of the IMF and other international donors forever. “This is because government would be able to generate enough foreign exchange to fund development in industry, the social sectors of the economy like health, education and infrastructure,” he noted.
He added: “We have the capacity in agriculture to do that. So, we need to take care of that and we need to bring these into being. This is my agenda to be President of Ghana – to drive this new face of our development based on the foundation that we have laid”.
Explaining the rationale behind his decision, he said the Tree Crop Development Authority, for instance, when properly developed, will generate a combined potential of export earnings of between US$6 to US$12billion annually after 8-10 years of implementation.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto, however, said the other sectors will be given equal attention, but said he would prioritize the allocation of funding to the Agricultural sector in order to generate more revenue to fund the others.
In his view, the establishment of the four new institutions will propel agriculture to greater heights such that there would be enough to fund the other sectors of the Ghanaian economy without having to go and borrow money that comes with huge interest rate.