A flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, will on Friday, July 21, 2023, deliver a public lecture at the University of Ghana.
The lecture is being organised by the Mensah Sarbah Hall Alumni Association on the occasion of the 60th anniversary celebration of the Mensah Sarbah Hall and as part of the Vikings Alumni Celebrity Platform Lecture.
It is on the “Exploiting Agriculture Diversification to Fund Economic Development in Ghana”.
The event will be chaired by former Head of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, with Dr Grace Bediako, former Government Statistician and Board Chairman of the Ghana Statistical Service, as Guest of Honour.
Also expected to attend the lecture is the Alumni President, His Eminence Francis Albert Seth Nyonyo.
The former minister of agriculture in his lecture will demonstrate how Ghana can leverage agricultural diversification for the country’s economic success.
Dr Owusu Afriyie will demonstrate how the Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), which he initiated while in office and now being implemented as one major policy, can turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
These six tree crops have the potential of generating $ 12 billion annually for the country.
According to the former Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, several other initiatives, such as Poultry Development Authority, Grains Development Authority, which are under consideration in Parliament; the Horticultural Development Authority currently at the Cabinet level; when properly structured and the right investments are made, will give Ghana the economic freedom that it badly needs.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto revealed that Ghana has 3.1 million professional farmers, a few of them being into mechanised farming, with the majority being small-holder farmers.
The Agricultural Economist, who served in the UN systems for 18 years, believes Ghana can achieve more, if the country prioritises public funding in the agriculture sector, with a special focus on mechanised farming.
He is also expected to brief the gathering on how the policies that he will introduce can serve as a breakthrough for small-holder farmers, the majority of whom are women.
Presently, these small-holder farmers lack incentives and farm inputs to execute their work.
Dr Afriyie Akoto, while in office as the Minister of Food and Agriculture, prioritised small-holder farmers in the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, which he spearheaded.
The result of this action improved the standard of living of the small-holder farmers and enhanced food security while the surpluses from the Planting for Food and Jobs programme were exported to neighbouring countries.
Dr Afriyie Akoto is, therefore, expected to shed more light on where he left off with the small-holder farmers in his scheme of things.
He is also expected to shed light on the policies that he will introduce to enhance the operations of players in the agriculture value chain.