He has taken a decision that many already looked forward to, owing to the fact that his name had popped up some times as being interested in running as the flagbearer of the NPP.
By tendering in his resignation letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr. Osei Afriyie Akoto has given the clearest indication yet, although not officially, that he wants to contest the flagbearer position of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
As stated in his letter, which is yet to be made public, the former Minister of Food and Agriculture said he is doing so to focus on his political ambitions.
Afriyie Akoto served under the Akufo-Addo-led government for two extra years after some 4 years during the NPP’s first term in power.
As agric minister, he, among other things, was tasked with the implementation of one of the party’s flagship policies in the agric sector: Planting for Food and Jobs.
But there have been many other things that have happened under his era as minister, making him one of the appointees under President Nana Akufo-Addo whose tenure was not void of controversies – particularly resultant of his utterances and actions.
As he prepares to leave office to pursue other interests, we look back at some of the most memorable moments from his presidency.
Agric minister hot over ‘derogatory’ comments on northerners:
In 2019, some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Savannah Region had cause to refer to Dr. Osei Afriyie Akoto as disrespectful over some comments he made about northerners.
Speaking in an interview that was widely publicized, Afriyie Akoto suggested that the people in the five regions in the northern part of Ghana had benefited from the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program and for which reason they had become financially elevated.
He is said to have added that through this, the people had been able to buy themselves motorbikes and build cement houses with iron sheets.
Communities in those regions, he said, are “shining with metal roofs where there used to be thatch roofs.”
The NDC called on him to apologise and also resign from his ministerial position but he did none of these.
The former minister refuted the claims, stating that it is propaganda against him.
“I never made such comments, it is the propaganda of the NDC. There is some propaganda going around that I have made a statement to the effect that northerners are living in mud homes, I took the opportunity to explain to the chief that there was nothing of that sort, I was talking about the boom of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme,” he said during a visit to the Overlord of Gonjaland, Yagbonwura Tumtumba Borisa, on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
You can buy bunch of plantain for GHS3:
In 2020, Joy News reported that Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said, during an interview, that with as little as GHS3 to GHS5, Ghanaians can buy a bunch of plantains.
I cannot tell you when price of kenkey will drop – Agric minister:
In 2022, the former minister made another comment that generated a lot of conversation after he answered a question about the prices of popular Ghanaian food, kenkey.
Asked when the price of kenkey would see some reductions, as prices of food had generally seen a huge hike, the minister threw his hands in the air, saying, “Price of kenkey? I cannot tell. Why can I? The maize will be cheap when the factors that have brought about the increase go away.”
He added that prices will begin to drop when fuel prices also reduce.
“I’m talking about the external influence on these prices. When the price of petrol goes down from $101 per barrel to $20 per barrel,” he added.
He then went on to restate that Ghana was not experiencing a food shortage crisis.
“People wrongfully say there is a food shortage. There is no food shortage in Ghana. If you look at all the sectors, the agric sector stands out as the sector which is doing well,” he said.
There is no food shortage in Ghana:
Also, the former minister stated a number of times in 2022 that Ghana was not experiencing a food shortage.
This was at a period when there was a general outcry about the economy and standards of living in the country.
“There is no food shortage in Ghana as is being speculated, the food situation in the regions is enough evidence, however, we recognise that food is relatively expensive due to external factors,” he said while addressing the staff of MOFA and farmers in the Eastern Region as part of his official tour in 2022.
Afriyie Akoto describes agric ministry’s data as fake:
In March 2022, many Ghanaians were shocked when Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto described data that came from his own ministry, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as fake.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto said the highest maize production before the New Patriotic Party came to power was 1.8 million metric tons, and that the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government had never produced below that.
“Before we came into office, the highest maize production in Ghana was 1.8 million metric tons. We have increased that to 3.1 million metric tons by 2020… the total production (in 2018) was never 637,000 metric tons.
“You are being too technical here; you are asking me statistics… I cannot sit here and give you specific statistics, but if you say that Ghana’s total production of maize is around 600000, I will challenge you to that is not true. It is never true (that we produce around 600,000)… this document is wrong,” he said in a Citi FM interview monitored by GhanaWeb.
Also, he said that the government should not be blamed for the increase in prices of food products because these prices are determined by the costs of oil, fertilizer and other inputs, which are mostly imported.
Dr Akoto also refuted claims that Ghana’s food security has reduced, saying that data gathered by his ministry does not support the assessment of the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) and the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) that Ghana food security index has dropped.
I’m the ‘messiah’ of Ghanaian farmers:
In August 2022, the NPP stalwart said that the transformation he has brought to the agriculture sector has made farmers in the country come to love him, adding that he is now referred to as a saviour.
“Farmers are now my fun club; they are the ones I have worked for all over the country. If you go to every region, the farmers know that I am their messiah because I am the one who is making their work progress.
“I recently went to the forest regions, and my interaction with the farmers revealed to me that they are very happy with my work because of the investments the government has made for them.
“When this government came to power, farmers were making all kinds of demands, and every time they made the demand, I made sure that they got what they were asking for. So, they are happy about the work I have for them. It got to a time where they were even sing