The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has once again been honoured by AfricaSeeds, the largest seed producing organization in Africa, for his pioneering role in championing food security and improvement of technology in agriculture in Ghana and the rest of Africa.
The award was conferred on him at an International Conference on ‘Seed Knowledge Gateway Project’ at Akosombo in the Eastern Region, “in recognition of his brave, exemplary and innovative stewardship in seed sector development in Ghana which has opened the way to an accelerated advancement in the emergence of seed industries across Africa”.
The Executive Director of AfricaSeeds, Dr. Kouame Miezan, in conferring honour, urged Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto “to continue to serve a bastion behind the African Seed and Biotechnology Program of the African Union and a source of inspiration for AfricaSeeds, coordinator of the AU’s continental seed program”
The Minister of Food and Agriculture of Ghana was specially selected for the award following his successful implementation of the flagship “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ), which was introduced in 2017.
The program, according to the organization, has not only increased the demand of quality seeds and other inputs for thousands of smallholder farmers in Ghana, but has also revitalized the once dormant agricultural sector of the country.
Adoption of seed technology in Africa in general and Ghana in particular, is seen as very low, with only 11% of farmers in Ghana said to be patronizing improved seeds.
The advent of the PFJ is therefore seen as a major breakthrough, with an estimated one million farmers expected to benefit from the government’s subsidized program by the end of the 2019 crop season.
The Citation, detailing the achievement of the Minister reads
“Recognizing the immense benefits that quality seeds bring to crop production and convinced of the catalytic role that seed demand and farmer awareness can play in building a robust seed industry, Dr. Afriyie Akoto has faithfully and strenuously introduced and implemented his Government’s flagship agricultural program “Planting for Food and Jobs” since 2017 in which large numbers of farmers have progressively received subsidized seeds, fertilizers and extension support”
It further said through the PFJ initiative, Ghana was now on the path towards national seed self-suffiency and security while enhancing food security and youth employment.
The three day conference, which is being attended by representatives across Africa, is aimed at harnessing the technology of various stakeholders in the transformation of agriculture on the African continent.
It is being facilitated by organizations such as the Swiss Development Cooperation, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Development Bank (AfDB), African Union Commission, amongst others.
Participants will address a number of issues confronting seed production in Africa and explore avenues aimed at tackling them.
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