fbpx

GIDA, Seed Council boards inaugurated

BY: Vincent Amenuveve & Dickson Worlanyo Dotse
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (seated 2nd right), Minister of Food and Agriculture, with the National Seed Council board members after the inauguration ceremony. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto (seated 2nd right), Minister of Food and Agriculture, with the National Seed Council board members after the inauguration ceremony. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has sworn in two separate boards for the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) and the National Seed Council (NSC), urging the two boards to ensure best management practices in the agricultural sector.

While directing the 11-member GIDA board to institute an “Asset Management Project" within one year to generate funds to run the authority, the minister entreated the nine-member seed council board to sustain and improve the seed value chain in the country.

Dr Akoto advised the GIDA board to take inventory of abandoned and non-abandoned assets such as bungalows being occupied by squatters and retirees, silos and equipment in order to refurbish them and commercialise their usage to generate funds to pay salaries and to run GIDA effectively without necessarily relying on government subvention.

The minister bemoaned the abandonment and deterioration of some facilities, stressing that the abandoned silos, for instance, could be turned into tourist attractions while serving as storage facilities for grains and other farm produce.

He noted that these would eventually ensure that the tax payers’ money did not go waste, and then ultimately re-position the GIDA as “a star of African irrigation projects".

Dr Akoto said the GIDA had what it took to generate enough revenue to pay its workers and employees of MOFA generally.

He explained that it would be necessary for the board to look at, for instance, commercialising the use of water by farmers, and also making profit from the leasing out of relevant facilities.

Seed improvement

The minister equally reminded the seed council board that “you carry on your shoulders a very heavy responsibility” because the current government had introduced new dimensions into the agricultural sector to venture into modern farm technology reliant on improved seeds.

He said improved seed production had increased from 4,400 metric tonnes in 2017 to about 40,000 metric tonnes last year.

He said the duty of the board was, therefore, to ensure that there was effective management of the seed sector, including supporting efforts to provide quality seeds, hands-on research, as well as liaising with MOFA to propel the seed sector for agricultural development.

Dr Akoto said if the seed council board ensured sound management practices, it should be possible for the country to produce 100,000 metric tonnes of improved seeds for both the domestic and international markets.

“You need to be proactive and take up certain attitudes with renewed vigour," he noted.

Pledge

The Board Chairmen of GIDA, Osei Owusu Agyeman, and his counterpart on the seed council board, Josiah Wobil, both pledged to justify the confidence reposed in them to ensure that the two sectors — irrigation and improved seeds — become the major drivers of agricultural productivity in the country.