The Archbishop Emeritus of the Kumasi Metropolitan Archdiocese, Most Rev. Peter Akwasi Sarpong, has commended the Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, for the passion he exhibited in ensuring food sufficiency in the country over the last four years.
He prayed and thanked God for “enabling him to specialise in food and agricultural production on account of which this same God has given him the awesome portfolio of seeing to it that there is enough food for his compatriots to eat and even to make them export commodities to help the Ghanaian economy.”
Special thanksgiving mass
Archbishop Emeritus Sarpong made the commendation at a special thanksgiving mass at the St Peter's Basilica in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, to mark the 70th birth anniversary of Dr Akoto.
The occasion also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the enstoolment of Baffour Ohyeaman Bratuo VI as Mawerehene and the 50th birth anniversary of Rev. Sister Grace Nuamah.
The Mass was to thank God for the gift of life, good health and also for enabling him to successfully complete four years as Minister of Food and Agriculture.
"The Honourable Minister is asking us to join him in thanking God for all the blessings and graces God has given him that enabled him to go through vicissitudes over the last 70 years.”
"He is asking us to join him in thanking God not only for all the blessings he showered on him, but also enabling him to specialise in food and agricultural production," the Archbishop Emeritus said.
Most Rev. Sarpong extolled Dr Akoto for using his expertise to ensure that there was enough food in the country with surplus for export to the neighbouring countries.
"Food is the third of the three things in life created by God on which our life depends, the first two, of course, being air and water. God is the author of life, yet, he has given this ability to our brother to help us maintain life through helping us to lead the country in the provision of food. In this, God the sustainer of life, has given our Honourable Minister the power to help sustain life," Most Rev. Sarpong stated.
Speaking on love for neighbour, he said, if it were possible, sin should not be part of the vocabulary of any Christian, “because, every Christian should know that he is a member of the church, which is built on God's love.
“Sin, iniquity and unrighteousness have no place whatsoever in the church. The only moral concept that the church knows is the concept of love, charity, kindness and compassion,” Most Rev. Sarpong said.
He said there was one type of love that was hard to come by, but which was everlasting, unrestricted and unconditional and mentioned it as the agape love, which did not depend on anything outside itself.
Dr Akoto described the sermon as a spiritual experience to listen to such a godsend man to be blessing him at the same location where he was baptised and confirmed.
Speaking on his contribution to food sufficiency, Dr Akoto said it was by the grace of God that he was able to touch the lives of many underprivileged in the society made up of the smallholder farmers.
"It gives me the greatest of joy to practice what the Catholic faith teaches us to be of help to our neighbour," Dr Akoto said, adding that putting smiles on the faces of that category of farmers gave him satisfaction.
He also expressed gratitude to God and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for entrusting him with the responsibility.