A flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, will be on Friday, July 21, 2023, deliver a public lecture at the University of Ghana.
The lecture is being organized 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 with the theme "Exploiting Agriculture Diversification to Fund Economic Development in Ghana".
The event will be chaired by the former Head of UNOWAS, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, with Dr. Grace Bediako, former Government Statistician and Board Chair, of Statistical Service as Guest of Honour. In attendance will also be 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 is now being implemented as one major policy, can turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
The Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) is mandated to promote six tree crops, including cashew, mango, rubber, shea, coffee, and coconut. These six tree crops have the potential of generating US$ 12 billion annually for the country.
According to the former Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, several other initiatives, such as Poultry Development Authority, and the Grains Development Authority, are under consideration in parliament; the Horticultural Development Authority is currently at the Cabinet level; when properly structured and the suitable investments are made, will give Ghana the economic freedom that it badly needs.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto notes that Ghana has 3.1 million professional farmers, a few of them being into mechanized farming, with the majority being smallholder farmers.
The Agricultural Economist who served in the UN systems for 18 years believes Ghana could achieve more if the country prioritizes public funding in the agriculture sector, with a special focus on mechanized farming.
He is also expected to brief the gathering on how the policies that he will introduce can serve as a breakthrough for smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women.
These smallholder farmers lack incentives and farm inputs to execute their work.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto, while in office as the Minister for Food and Agriculture, prioritized smallholder farmers in the government's flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, which he spearheaded.
This action improved the standard of living of the smallholder 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 share more light on where he left off with the smallholder 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.