Exhibitors have showcased a variety of flowers, plants, latest gardening implements and accessories at the just ended the fourth edition of the Innovative Ghana Garden and Flower Show.
The event, which started on September 8 and ended on September 14 at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park in Accra was under the theme, “Dream It, Discover It, Live It with a focus on the 5 Ps of the UN Sustainable Development Goals – People, Prosperity, Partnership, Peace and Planet.”
The show sought to highlight how horticulture and floriculture can contribute to the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Ghana.
The seven- day show was a huge success as exhibitors took part in a variety of workshops such as Green Careers and Gardening for fun among others.
Other events included, the Stanbic bank conference, a farmers’ market, and Pippa’s Garden Fitness, as well as fun-filled events like Jazz Night, Party in the Park, and Lux Fashion in the Park among others.
High Commissioner of Malaysia to Ghana, His Excellency Cheong Loon-Lai, officially opened the Show on 9th September, 2016 and said in his keynote address: “we are, really going to develop links between the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement and the Horticulture and Floriculture industry back home to facilitate collaboration between Ghana and Malaysia in the spirit of South-South cooperation”.
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Honourable Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare, who chaired the opening ceremony, also expressed the commitment of her Ministry to partner with private sector initiatives such as the Garden and Flower Show.
“This aptly falls in line with my Ministry’s policy objectives, namely, the diversification and expansion of the tourism industry for economic development, the intensification of the promotion of sustainable tourism to preserve our historical, cultural and natural heritage“.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Ron Strikker, in a goodwill message, said the Netherlands is the third largest exporter of horticultural products with its entrepreneurs playing significant roles in starting horticulture industries in other countries. He indicated that Ghana has all the ingredients to create a competitive horticultural sector.
The Stanbic Bank Ghana Garden and Flower Conference was held on 13th September, 2016, with the highlight of the conference being the introduction of participants to the significance of stingless bees to human livelihood. Speaking on the topic, “what have Stingless Bees to do with the UN SDGs?”, the Founder- Director of the International Stingless Bee Center, Professor Peter Kwapong, said stingless bees help many flowering plants to reproduce resulting in fruits and seeds on which humans and other animals depend. “Stingless bees therefore contribute significantly to sustain livelihoods as well as to food security. Stingless bees are important in conserving biodiversity and re-planting forests. Hence, wood for timber and lumber is by courtesy of stingless bees”, Professor Kwapong stressed.
The UNESCO Representative to Ghana, Mr. Tirso Dos Santos addressed participants on the topic “Achieving the UN SDGs: All on Board”. He urged Ghanaians to help the government achieve the UN SDGs by participating actively in greening the environment to promote eco-tourism. “This would go a long way to promote and enhance the tourism potentials of the country”, he said.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Honourable Dzifa Gomashie, who chaired the Conference commended organizers for contributing in a unique way to national development. She lauded the objectives of the Show and reiterated the resolve of the Ministry to collaborate with the organizers to grow Ghana’s tourism potentials.
Ghanaians have embraced the show; close to fifteen thousand (15,000) people, both young and old, participated. They patronised, flower seeds and plants, creative arts pieces, beauty and natural products, furniture, pots, fashion items, among others.
The third edition of Bloom, Ghana’s only indigenous Garden and Flower magazine, published by Stratcomm Africa, was also available for sale and featured Ms. Constance Swaniker, a renowned sculptor whose art pieces, displayed at the Show, attracted a lot of public attention.
Deputy Minister of Finance, Honourable Mona Quartey, officially closed the show on 14th September, 2016. She applauded Stratcomm Africa for putting together the show and noted that, “Generally, the agricultural sector has over the years consistently been a major contributor to the nation’s GDP adding that the diversification opportunity that is offered through horticulture and floriculture is very important”. Hon Quartey emphasised that, “Government recognizes this and seeks to create the enabling environment for stimulating such entrepreneurial initiative. That is why the tax rate for businesses involved in non-traditional exports is lower than that for traditional exports. Government gives such incentives in order to diversify the country’s export base and make us better able to withstand shocks from the collapse in world market prices of our main exports currently”, she said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investments Promotion Centre (GIPC) Mrs. Mawuena Trebarh, chaired the closing ceremony. She said, GIPC is aware of the the challenges faced by horticulturists and floriculturists in the country which include inadequate support for growers, packaging challenges for exporters of products and the inability to meet the required quality standards by growers of fruits. “I therefore encourage entities seeking assistance and support in this sector to contact the GIPC to facilitate their investments,” she stated.
The Ghana Garden and Flower Show Awards ceremony, which sought to appreciate organisations and individuals for their outstanding gardens was held as part of the closing ceremony. The Award winners were; Mrs. Naa Lamley Lamptey (Best Private Home Garden), Ashesi University (Best School Garden), Ridge Church (Best Church Garden), Labadi Beach Hotel (Best Hotel Garden), Interplast Limited (Best Industry Garden) and Akai House Clinic (Best Hospital Garden).
In her address at the closing ceremony, Ms. Esther A.N. Cobbah, CEO of Stratcomm Africa, stated that the UN’s SDGs were incorporated because of their focus on areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet as outlined in the 5 Ps, namely; People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. “We believe the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement and, by extension, the Ghana Garden and Flower Show, can help in creating and sustaining the attitudes and behaviours that facilitate this new framework for global development” she indicated.
The event was well attended by key players in the horticulture and floriculture industry, flower enthusiasts, government officials, media, and members of the diplomatic corps, which included the Brazilian, Israeli, Malaysian, Netherlands Embassies, British High Commission, European Union and the UN Resident Coordinator, among others.
A participant had this to say about the Show, ““Wow! I am so amazed by this great show, impressive! This is what that I needed, seeing all these flowers and plants makes me appreciate nature more”.
Exhibitors were impressed with the excellent organization of the Show by Stratcomm Africa and its subsidiary, Vintage Events. They pledged their commitment to the cause being charted by the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement. “I’m very impressed by Stratcomm Africa’s ability to put together such a wonderful show. I look forward to 2017 eagerly. Thanks so much for the opportunity”, said an exhibitor.
Sponsors of this year’s event included Stanbic Bank, HFC Bank, The Spectator Newspaper, Lux, Softlanding, Ghana Home Loans, StageCraft, Fan Milk, Appolonia, Topp Core Security, Nomadik, altimate, Movenpick, Poly Tank, Creator Digital, UCS, Cummins, DDP Outdoor, Tropical Cables, Gold Key, The Royal Senchi and Sidalco.