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Imagine a Ghana where nobody slept on an empty stomach and every family could easily afford decent accommodation, quality education and other basic necessities. Imagine living in a Ghana with a stable climate and a cleaner environment. These hopes form part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for the world. The Ghana Garden and Flower Movement (GGFM) seeks to contribute to their realization in Ghana.
In 2000, the United Nations set out to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. To build on the success of these goals 15 years on, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been set as part of a wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that people the world over enjoy peace and prosperity.
The SDGs center on critical areas for humanity and the planet. The areas outlined as the 5Ps are people, prosperity, planet, partnership and peace. The Sustainable Development Goals also represent the agreed set goals, targets and indicators that UN member states are expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years.
All over the world, efforts are being made by governments, NGOS, corporate institutions, individuals and other players to make significant progress towards achieving these goals.
The GGFM aims to contribute to the realization of the SDGs in Ghana through celebrating Ghana’s unique flora and fauna, whilst pointing people to the income generating and job creation opportunities inherent in them. . Ghana is fortunate to have good weather, with sunshine most days of each year, as well as good soil, water and rich flora and fauna.
The GGFM therefore seeks to create awareness among Ghanaians about the environmental, commercial, aesthetic and health benefits of horticulture and floriculture.
The Ghana Garden and Flower Show (GGFS), a flagship activity of the GGFM was initiated in August 2013.The objectives of the Show include; contributing to employment and foreign exchange generation through flower and vegetable cultivation and export; promoting investment and entrepreneurship in horticulture and floriculture; as well as promoting a culture of environmental awareness and friendliness, thereby facilitating environmental conservation.
Organizer of the Show, Stratcomm Africa is collaborating with a range of partners to promote and deepen a Gardening and Flower culture in Ghana. Stratcomm Africa believes in using communications to stimulate socio-economic development. By organizing the GGFS and promoting a Garden and Flower Movement in Ghana, Stratcomm Africa is using its expertise to generate awareness among Ghanaians about available natural resources for livelihood enhancement and national development.
The objectives of the innovative GGFM and its flagship activity, the GGFS are in many ways consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs aim to end poverty and hunger in all dimensions and to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.
The GGFM promotes job creation and income generation opportunities that the floriculture and horticulture industry offers. Ghana currently has high unemployment and a very youthful population. According to the Ghana Statistical Service, out of an estimated population of 25 million, 55% are within the productive ages of 15 and 59.. Recent figures put unemployment at 11.9%, and many consider unemployment to be the most critical issue affecting the country. The Movement believes that with the right national and individual orientation, policies and drive, our rich flora and fauna could provide millions of jobs in the country.
A three time exhibitor at the Ghana Garden and Flower Show, Mr. Happy Ideall of Happy Ceramics shares his experience on the Show; ‘The first time I participated, a new hotel in the country found my pots interesting and bought a lot of them for their decor. I am glad I participated, it helped my business grow.’
The SDGs are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.
The GGFM and its associated activities therefore contribute to livelihood improvement. Countries such as Colombia, USA, Holland, Kenya and Ethiopia earn millions of dollars annually from the horticulture and floriculture business. Ghana could easily be one of these countries if we collectively put our shoulders to the plough. Currently, a lot of the flowers used for décor in the country are imported at great cost, including using scarce electricity to power cold rooms in which the imported flowers are stored. Both for individuals, who take advantage of job opportunities, and for the nation, significant income can be saved as well as generated from horticulture and floricultureif we produced even a fraction of the flowers and vegetables needed in the country.
Abdul Wahab, Roadside Gardener also shares his experience as an exhibitor at the show, ‘I think every roadside gardener should take their business seriously by participating in the GGFS. I have seen a great improvement in my business since I started, participating in the Ghana Garden and Flower Show and I thank organisers for this great platform’.
Under Partnership, the SDGs are aimed at mobilizing the means required to implement Agenda 2030 through a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.
The GGFM promotes interaction through the annual GGFS, garden clubs and other mini activities it organizes throughout the period of the Show. Last year’s focus on Ecotourism recognized the interaction that ecotourism promotes across nations as well as among peoples of the same country.
The SDGs are also aimed at fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
Livelihood enhancement and national development, which are important objectives of the GGFS, also contribute to peace. The interactive activities that happen at the show promote partnerships and peaceful co-existence.
The SDGs are also meant to help protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing the world’s natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that the planet can support the needs of the present and future generations.
A major focus of the GGFM is environmental conservation. It is often said that “when the last tree dies, the last man dies”. Flora preserve the environment, hence human life. Yet, it appears that this important benefit of flora is lost on many. Cultivation of gardens and flowers in our surroundings contributes to the preservation of our environment. It helps us save resources. For example, it helps to keep our homes cool, our surroundings clean and healthy and help us to spend less on health issues.
It is the 5th anniversary of the Show this year under the theme; ‘Flower Ghana, Grow Ghana’. The theme is centered on the floriculture and horticulture industry in Ghana as a potential source of income for national growth. This theme is critical because the Movement believes that as Ghana celebrates its 60th year of independence, its flora and fauna which have invaluable benefits should be harnessed for national development.
This year’s show was launched on 16th June, 2017 and is set to take place from 31st August to 4th September, 2017 at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park. Exciting activities to look forward to include a conference, workshops, exhibitions and business networking opportunities, Fashion Show, Party in the Park, Jazz Night, and the unveiling of 4th edition of Bloom – A Garden and Flower Magazine.
So yes! It would be amazing to live in a beautiful, peaceful and prosperous and clean Ghana. Join the Movement so that together, we can promote a greener, cleaner, healthier, wealthier and more beautiful Ghana and contribute to the realization of the UN sustainable development goals.
This is a feature article by Stratcomm Africa’s Ghana Garden and Flower Team.