Monday, 20 February 2017

The Aveyime Rice Project: Why The Minister For Agriculture Must Make Haste Slowly And Think Creatively About Its Future

As much as possible those now running our country need to do lateral thinking in resolving the many challenges our country faces.

The only way our country can actually be transformed is to have a ruling elite that is creative in its  thinking and has the nous and gumption to  do the seemingly  impossible always.

That is what  sets Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah - who was an original thinker - apart from all the leaders that this country has had since his bloody and violent overthrow on 24th February, 1966. President  Nkrumah, was a polymath, who was a creative thinker who had the nous and gumption to do the seemingly impossible many times over during the period that he led our homeland Ghana.

It is the main reason why despite Nkrumah's many faults he is in the Pantheon of 20th century greats - whiles none of his perfect and super-clever, angelic detractors and political opponents (all of whom he dwarfed whiles alive, and who doubtless would have ushered in rule by saints, had they, not Nkrumah, ruled Ghana after independence - from what we are told by their infallible and saintly political progeny of today) are not known outside Ghana's borders.

Alas, vile and revisionist propaganda, maketh not genuine  African heroes.  Neither does it buy a spot in the Pantheon of truly great global leaders. So there. And for all we care, Nkrumah's many opponents of today can take all the credit and glory for whatever Ghana has achieved thus far since it regained its independence in 1957, on top too, if they so wish.

Some of us don't care anymore about their casual attitude towards the  truth. Lying about our hsitory seems to be wired into their sodden DNA, it would appear.

Their hero Dr. J. B. Danquah deserves unending praises for sigle-handedly creating Ghana and snatching it from the grasping hands of the British occupiers of our country in 1957 by the sheer force of his personality. After all, come to think of it, he should even be given credit for the creation of the planet Earth, should he not? Who born dog? Sarjewaah. Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o. Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Anyway, luckily for our country, the minister of finance, Hon Ken Ofori-Atta,  showed that he too is a lateral thinker, and a leader indeed, when he made it clear (when a distractive and needless crisis over the proposed utilisation of oil revenues accrued in the heritage fund seemed to  be brewing) that he had other sources of funding in mind for the implementation of the free SHS policy.

In other words, in a moment of crisis, he was able to show the world that he is a creative thinker who was  not about to rely on money from the petroleum sector's heritage fund to pay for the implementation of a key policy decision, which will transform the lives of millions of disadvantaged children from poor homes - and ensure that Mother Ghana benefits from the talents of all such children: going forward into the far distant future. Brilliant.

Incidentally, the finance minister's swift intervention to try and end the controversy generated by Hon Yaw Osafo Marfo's "thinking aloud" - to use Nana Akomea the new Patriotic Party's (NPP) communications director's Animal-farm-like-euphemism for ossified thinking - was a bold move on his part  to the end the impression of disarray within the ranks of the new administration over the matter. Good strategy. Clever man.

The forever-disembbling Nana Akomea doubtless thought up the "thinking aloud" phrase to try and get Yaw Osafo Marfo out of a tight corner - for raising the ire of many Ghanaians by stating that money from Ghana's oil revenues  set aside for future generations in the heritage fund, would pay for the implementation of the free SHS policy.

Naturally, it has made some discerning and independent-minded Ghanaians to start  wondering what  exactly is the point of this administration having Yaw Osafo Marfo  (with his heavy tribal-supremacist-baggage)  as a "senior minister." Would he not rather make a perfect high commissioner to a post-Brexit UK for Mother Ghana, I ask?

He could drum up so much investment into Ghana from a UK desperate to forge new trading alliances - to replace the EU's single market it will lose free access to sooner or later, could he not? But I digress.

To show his mettle too, and avoid generating possible  future controversy, the minister for agriculture needs to also do some lateral thinking, as regards the future of the Aveyime rice project.

Why does he not approach Groupe Nduom to buy into the Aveyime rice project, and then together with Groupe Nduom meet with China's ambassador to Ghana, to discuss the possibility of inviting the giant state-owned Chinese grains and cereals producer and distributor,  the  COFCO Group, to collaborate with Ghana in the production of rice here?

Would that approach not yield better results  than rushing to dispose of the government's stake in the firesale of a business that the minister himself  admits the government's 60 percent stake is of no value at present, in any case?

If he instead adopts a creative approach by being patient and opts to collaborate with Groupe Nduom and COFCO to resucitate the much-troubled Aveyime rice project, over time, would that selfsame stake in the Volta Prairie Rice Limited business not appreciate in value sufficiently enough to enable government recoup some of the tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' monies sunk into that company: in an IPO to divest some of that 60 percent holding on the Ghana Stock Exchange?

Collaborating with  Groupe Nduom and COFCO, will definitely enable the government to revive Ghana's rice-growing sector, and therby make our nation self-sufficent in rice production once again - and be in a position to regularly export the sector's surpluses: which will help strengthen our currency; create wealth for rice farmers nationwide;  and jobs galore for young people throughout rural Ghana.

That is why the minister for agriculture, Hon Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, must not rush to dispose of the government's stake in the Aveyime rice project any time soon. He must make haste slowly in this matter  - and do some lateral thinking about the future of the Aveyime rice project and that of  the Volta Prairie Rice Limited, instead.

Incidentally, in case it has still not dawned on their administration  yet (in addition to their mostly know-nothing mercenary media lackeys),  to be able to have their mandate renewed in 2020, they will have to do the impossible regularly. They have their work cut out. But good luck to them.

Finally, this blog's humble parting words  to the minister for agriculture, is that if he  if thinks creatively, he just might be able to single-handedly secure victory for the NPP in 2020 - if he gets Groupe Nduom and the COFCO Group to collaborate to revive Ghana's real economy's rice-farming sub-sector. Hmm, yeman Ghana yi - eyeasem o. Eyeasem serbeh.



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