Agric Minister Swears-In New Councils And Boards Of Four Institutions

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Friday, swore-in a new Council and Board members for four separate institutions under the Ministry.

    They are the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana’s Management Board, the Plant Protection Advisory Council, Veterinary Council of Ghana and the National Seed Council.

     The Chairpersons for these institutions are Professor Ebenezer Owusu, the President’s nominee for the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana’s Management Board, Prof. Kwame Afreh-Nuamah, for the  Plant Protection Advisory Council,  Dr William Fenteng Danso, the Veterinary Council of Ghana and Mr Josiah Wobil, for the National Seed Council.

     The Minister urged the Members of the various Councils and Boards, to work hard to bring about a comprehensive improvement in Ghana’s agricultural sector.  

     He underscored the important contribution of the Cocoa Sub-sector, which was considered as the nerve of the country’s economy, but said it was currently plagued with several challenges, including low yields and the current drastic fall in world market prices, where Ghana was losing about one billion dollars.

     Dr Akoto said the inauguration of the Plant Protection Advisory Council, was very significant, narrating Ghana’s ordeal and huge revenue losses since the European Union placed a ban on the importation of the country’s vegetables, for failure to follow acceptable international procedures.

     The country, he said, after the ban, was given a year to reorganise things, but unfortunately failed again last year to pass the test required, but expressed trust in the expertise of the new Council in addressing the standing issues, and the numerous challenges that plagued the sector.

     He cited challenges such as the shortage of human resource, poor attitudes of staff and the high level of corruption, saying that, the Plant Protection Directorate, being Ghana’s biological police, must ensure that all food items met international standards, and also protect the country’s borders from the import of foreign organisms that could threaten food security.

     The Minister said he had made a special appeal for the recruitment of veterinary surgeons and other professionals to ensure security of the quality of the country’s animal protein supply, and also to make the sector attractive for enhanced investment.

      Government had set up a special committee to look into the current conflicts, involving Fulani herdsmen and was sure they would soon be resolved to bring about peace in the northern sector.

      Mr Akoto said the National Seed Council was crucial to the success of the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, which was greatly dependent on improved seeds, and their availability to farmers, which was a current challenge and gave the assurance that government was committed to supporting every move that would sustain national growth and development.

      Representatives of the various inaugurated Councils and Boards, thanked the government for the honour and confidence reposed in them, and pledged their commitment to work hard to meet their mandates.