The AfricaSeeds, the implementing agency for the African Union Seed Programme, has honoured the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, with the title “Seed Champion of Africa.”
The occasion was the International Conference on Seed Knowledge System hosted at Akosombo in the Eastern Region last Monday, under the auspices of the African Union.
The agency said in an accompanying citation that the Minister was being honoured for his “brave, exemplary and innovative stewardship,” in the development of the seed sector in Ghana.
“And from now on, may Dr Akoto serve as a bastion behind the African Seed and Biotechnology Programme of the African Union and a source of inspiration for AfricaSeeds, the coordinator of AU’s continental seed programme,” the Executive Director of the AfricaSeeds, Dr Kouame Miezan, read from the citation to Dr Akoto.
The citation accompanying the honour stated that Dr Akoto’s exemplary leadership in the sector had opened the way to an accelerated advancement in the emergence of seed industries across Africa.
“Recognising 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 Akoto has faithfully and strenuously introduced and implemented his government’s flagship agricultural programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, since 2017,” it said.
The citation said the seed companies had set Ghana on the path of national seed self-sufficiency and security while enhancing food security and youth employment.
“To hold up Dr Akoto’s achievement in Ghana as an example that should motivate counterparts across Africa and encourage further expansion of his vision to encompass the overall African seed concern.
“AfricaSeeds is proud to confer on Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the high position of Seed Champion of Africa,” the citation read.
Dedication to President
Accepting the citation, Dr Akoto thanked AfricaSeeds for the honour and dedicated it to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the brainchild of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
“Let me thank AfricaSeed for the recognition done me and I accept it on behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, whose vision it is that my staff, directors and I have been pursuing over the past two years,” he said.
He said the achievements chalked up by the programme so far had been largely as a result of the collective effort of the entire staff of the ministry and not just his, as an individual, even though he was chief steward.
“It is a recognition that I have accepted on behalf of the President, directors and staff of the ministry who are behind me solidly for the implementation of the programme.
Definitely, if you have the best ideas and do not have your staff backing you, then you are sure to fail,” Dr Akoto said.