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The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo- Addo formally opened the 5th edition of the Ghana Garden and Flower Show at the Efua Sutherlands Children’s Park last Friday with a challenge to the youth to seize the opportunities inherent in horticulture and floriculture to improve their lives.
According to her, “When a country like Holland is able to derive so much of its Gross Domestic Product from this industry that should tell us something. Ghana is blessed with a much more conducive climate for year round growth of gardens and flowers and we have the land resources to develop large scale flower plantations for export.”
She went on to refer to the experiences of countries such as Kenya, and Ethiopia as well as Colombia to show that Ghana too can earn a lot of foreign exchange from exporting flowers.
The First Lady stated: “I have tremendous faith in the willingness of Ghanaians to unite behind worthy causes. I have personally witnessed this human quality under many circumstances but more recently in the overwhelming support that individuals and corporate organizations have extended to the Save a Child Save a Mother Project. This is ample testimony to the fact that when Ghanaians unite, we get things done.”
She commended Stratcomm Africa on the initiative taken to organize the Show. The theme for the 2017 edition of the show is: “Flower Ghana, Grow Ghana”.
The CEO of Stratcomm Africa, Esther A.N. Cobbah, explained that “the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement was birthed five years ago, when Stratcomm Africa, supported by our partners, committed to devote ourselves to this cause—the pursuit of a greener, cleaner, healthier, wealthier and a more beautiful Ghana.
“As a communications agency, we are typically providing communications services to clients and getting remunerated for this. In connection with this Garden and Flower Show, we committed to using our professional capabilities to pursue something we believed was valuable for our country and for her people -for no remuneration. We invested our resources and, with a number of sponsors who supported us, we were able to deliver that first Show in 2013.”
She went on: “We knew at Stratcomm Africa when we started that the Show in 2013 could not be a one-off event. To achieve what we have been aspiring to for the nation required not only awareness creation and changes in the attitudes of people but also changes in behavior and so we knew that we would have to pursue this cause over the long term. Now, in the fifth year of the show, taking place in the year when Ghana is celebrating 60 years since our independence, we are more convinced than ever that this is a worthy cause, even if it continues to take up a lot of our resources.”
She paid glowing tribute to other partners who have believed in the vision, including the late Kwame Ayew, Dr Juliet Tuakli, Arafua Apaloo-Aning, Patrick Masoperh, Mona Asem and Nana Tuffuor.
She indicated that the conference and workshop that would be held as part of the Show this year would seek to focus on the potential of floriculture and horticulture to help develop the youth and enable them to take up the opportunities available from flowering Ghana.
The Chairman for the occasion, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, indicated that Ghana was uniquely positioned in the world and noted that the leadership being provided by President Akufo-Addo was giving Ghanaians an opportunity to harness the abundant natural resources of the country to improve our lives as Ghanaians.
Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Ghana’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, also said: “There is the need for us to make a conscious effort to encourage people to tap into the numerous benefits of the floriculture industry”.
“This is a billion dollar industry and unfortunately, we as a country, are yet to fully explore this lucrative industry. This is why such initiatives deserve commendation,” she said.
Other speakers at the event include the Turkish Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Nesrin Bayazit; the Royal Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Ron Strikker, Ms Carol Annang, the Managing Director of the New Times Corporation and Mr Kwame Owusu-Boateng, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity International Savings and Loans.
The Ghana Garden and Flower Show, which is an initiative of Strategic Communications Africa Limited (Stratcomm Africa), seeks to to contribute to Ghana’s growth environmentally, in health, wealth and beauty and also create awareness among Ghanaians about the commercial, aesthetic, environmental and health benefits of horticulture and floriculture.
After the launch, a number of innovative and exciting activities have taken place at the show. They include fireworks, a conference, workshops, music night, fashion in the park and party in the park.
Monday, 4th September, will see the closing ceremony and awards ceremony of the Show with individuals and institutions receiving awards for growing and maintaining beautiful gardens.