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Parliament extols Kufuor

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Former President Kufuor

Parliament on Wednesday applauded Former President Kufuor for winning the 2011 World Food Price award together with Brazil’s Luiz Lula da Silva.

A statement presented by former Agric Minister in the Kufuor administration, Mr Earnest Akobuor Debrah, stated that: “This prestigious award is an honour to our gallant farmers as well as ministries, departments and agencies that supported and implemented the policies and programmes that enabled Ghana to reduce poverty and hunger by 50 percent within a decade.”

He said it was also in honour of the House that gave legal backing to the policies and the development partners who gave financial and technical support for some of the initiatives.

“The greatest honour however, goes to the Former President for his visionary leadership in initiating the poverty and hunger reduction policies and his courage in seeing through their implementation,” he said.

He identified policies such as the Mass Pest Control popularly referred to as Mass Cocoa Spraying Policy, subsidized fertilizer for cocoa farmers which doubled cocoa production from 380,000 metric tonnes in 2000 to 736,000 metric tonnes in 2004.

The Millennium Challenge Account, he said, yielded a total grant of $550 million, and devoted to agriculture specifically food security and horticulture development.

He noted that other projects initiated under the MCA included the Afram Plains Agriculture Development Project, the Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme, Northern Rural Growth Programme NERICA Rice Project and Inland Valley Rice Project.

Mr Debrah stated that under President Kufuor farm machineries and equipment were distributed to farmers at subsidized cost, mechanization centres were established dilapidated dams rehabilitated and a strong link between research institutions, the Agric Ministry and farmers was established.

These, according to him, had contributed to food security in Ghana adding, the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme which put health care within the reach of the ordinary people had helped reduce poverty drastically.

Commenting on the statement, Mr Harona Iddrisu, Communication Minister, while congratulating Former President Kufuor, recalled that such an award was given to Former President Rawlings adding, the award had demonstrated how far Ghanaians had come in eradicating poverty and hunger.

He said the award must spur present and future governments into action to invest in agriculture in order to increase food production adding, agriculture must move away from cutlass and hoe technology.

Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, NPP member for Kwadaso, said agriculture under Former President Kufuor saw unprecedented policy formulation and implementation which increased yield in local crops resulting in surplus in the cereal and other crops.

He said in the Kufuor era, Ghana was exporting yam to Europe.

“The prize was well deserved for such a fantastic performance,” he said.

Dr Yakubu Ahmed Alhassan, NDC member for Mion, said people should not overly personalize the award but it should be regarded as a national one.

The inspiration, he said, should be drawn from the award was to transmit policies into actions.

He said all leaders globally must invest in agriculture to avoid global food shortage adding, currently in Somalia, people were dying out of hunger.

He noted that in 2009 to 2010, food shortage reached its peak but did not affect Ghana because of the efforts of leaders to improve agriculture.

He praised all the Ghanaian leaders for being interested in agriculture.

Dr Richard Anane, NPP member for Nhyiaeso, said the award was as result of the contribution of many stake holders such as farmers, scientists and policy makers.

Prof Mike Oquaye, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said policy formulation was the best way of solving national problems not propaganda.

“Lets build this country with policy and vision,” he said/

He praised the rural electrification project of the Kufuor administration which according to him, provided the peasant some form of security adding, “farming without security was an exercise in futility.”

The Speaker, Mrs Justice Bamford Addo, directed that the congratulatory comments from the members be made available to former President Agyekum Kufuor as an honour to him.

Source: GNA

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