Sunyani (B/A) Oct. 26 GNA - Mr. Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLG&RD) has called on Ghanaians to help promote horticulture in the country.
Horticulture, he said, has the potential of ensuring higher income levels than any other activity in the agricultural and industrial sector.
These were contained in a speech read on his behalf at the launching of the 4th National Horticultural week celebration on the theme: "enhancement of the environment -a sure way for healthier living and tourism promotion" in the Sunyani municipality on Tuesday.
Mr. Adjei-Darko indicated that, the horticultural industry, if carefully harnessed could provide gainful and stable employment to thousands of people in both rural and urban areas. He noted that, for a long time now, very little attention has so far been done to focus attention on the potentials of the horticultural industry and urged the public to help embark on a drive to establish horticultural clubs in schools, towns, villages and cities to inculcate in the people a sense of appreciation of beautiful and healthy surroundings.
He stressed the need for redoubling efforts towards public education in the importance of horticulture and warned gardeners who use gutter water on vegetables, especially lettuce and cabbage to stop such practice since it is a threat to human health.
The Local Government Minister cited countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa that had developed lucrative business in the export of horticultural products and advised Ghanaians to emulate such practices and create horticulture into a good source of employment and income for the youth in the country.
He appealed to the public to desist from throwing plastic water bags from moving vehicles, parking on lawns, creating walkways on lawns, picking flowers and stealing exotic plants from the landscape areas. He also urged private firms and business houses to give support towards the sponsorship of horticultural advertisement in order to sustain the industry.
Mr. George Owusu Afriyie, National Director of the Department of Parks and Gardens, in a statement expressed grave concern on the cutting down of trees for firewood, grazing of the of animals on the landscape and peeling barks of trees for the manufacturing of "bitters" saying such negative activities destroy the horticulture industry.
He appealed to the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to enact appropriate bye-laws to compel developers and landlords to plant trees and shrubs in front of their fence walls to give the country a new look.
In a welcoming address, Mr. Charles Monney, Brong-Ahafo Regional landscape designer explained that the Department of Parks and Gardens was established as a state agency responsible for the beautification of cities and urban centres and enumerated non-availability of essential logistics and equipment, lack of professional personnel and low morale among staff as some of the factors attributing to ineffective performance of the industry.
He appealed to the MLG&RD to consider a complete re-engineering of the department to make it to be able to fulfill its statutory mandate. He further appealed to the Minister to consider allocating one pick-up to the department in the Brong- Ahafo Region to facilitate the work of the department since demand for the services of the department is growing.