Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, has resigned from the government.
He presented his resignation letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House, Accra on Tuesday.
Dr Akoto’s move, according to close sources, is to allow him to concentrate on his presidential ambition.
His resignation follows that of former Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyerematen, who resigned from the government last Thursday.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto was appointed Minister of Food and Agriculture in 2017 and has served in that capacity for six years.
Dr Akoto led the design and implementation of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme – a policy intended to address the declining growth in the country’s agricultural sector.
The PFJ was launched on April 19, 2017 at Goaso in the Ahafo Region and has since become a key instrument in the government’s efforts to transform the agriculture sector.
Under the auspices of Dr Akoto as Minister, the agriculture sector grew by 6.2 per cent in 2017. The sector declined in 2018 and 2019, recording a growth rate of 4.9 and 4.7 per cent respectively.
The agriculture sector bounced back in 2020, recording a growth rate of 7.3 per cent, and further grew by 8.4 per cent in 2021. In 2022, the sector was projected to record its lowest growth in years at 0.7 per cent.
On February 2019, Africa Seeds which is the intergovernmental Seed Agency of the African Union, conferred on Dr Akoto, the title of Seed Champion of Africa. Later the same year, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO), a pan-African organisation promoting the interest of coffee producers on the continent; a term he finished serving in December 2020. He is the current Chairman of the ECOWAS Specialised Ministerial Technical Council for Agriculture (CTMS Agric).
Dr Akoto is a stalwart of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and has served the party in various capacities.
He is the son of Baffour Osei Akoto, a traditional ruler who served as a chief linguist at the Manhyia Palace for close to 60 years.
His father was the founder of the National Liberation Movement (NLM), which together with other opposition parties metamorphosed into the current NPP.
Dr Akoto served as Member of Parliament for Kwadaso in 2008 and served for two terms. In Parliament, he held the positions of Deputy Ranking Member and subsequently the substantive Ranking Member for the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs until 2017. Dr Akoto has declared his presidential ambition and has expressed interest in leading the NPP as its flagbearer in the 2024 elections. —GNA