The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has hailed Stratcomm Africa, for the successful organisations of the Ghana Garden and Flower Shows over the past five years.

She said initiatives such as this were very worthwhile stating that "planting flowers definitely helps create jobs and I would like to join forces with Ghana Garden and Flower Movement in declaring that it is time for us, as a nation to put our hands to the plow".

Mrs Akufo-Addo made this remarks at the opening of the 2017 Ghana Garden and Flower Show held under the theme: "Flower Ghana, Grow Ghana".

"I have tremendous faith in the willingness of Ghanaians to unite behind worthy causes. I have personally witnessed this human quality under many circumstances and recently in the overwhelming support that individuals and corporate organisations have extended to the 'Save a Child, Save a Mother Project'," she said.

"This is testimony to the fact that when Ghanaians come together, we can get things done. I have no doubt that together, we will succeed, through the horticulture and floriculture sector, in helping to diversify our economy, increase our foreign exchange earnings and contribute to the development and beautification of our motherland."

Stratcomm Africa is a total communications and reputation management agency dedicated to using communication strategies as a means of enhancing performance.

By organising the Ghana Garden and Flower Show, 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 individual livelihood enhancement and national development.

Over 100 exhibitors are party taking in the fifth edition of the Ghana Garden and Flower Show.

The event is under auspices of corporate entities such as the New Times Corporation, Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited, The Finder, B&FT, Lux, Guinness Ghana, Appolonia City and Ecobank.

The First Lady cut both the fifth Ghana Garden and Flower Show anniversary cake and the tape to formal open the show, which was accompanied by fireworks display.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said: "I will like to throw a challenge to the youth of this country to seize the opportunities that are available from Ghana's flora and fauna. In particular my challenge goes to women, whose resourcefulness in Ghana is well known."

The First Lady said she was counting on women to encourage their children, to realise that there was wealth in the land, not just in producing food but also in growing flowers.

She cited the experience of other African countries, such as Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as countries like Columbia should prove to us that, Ghana too could earn a lot of foreign exchange from exporting flowers.

Ms Esther A.N. Cobbah, the Chief Executive Officer of Statcomm Africa, paid tribute to partners who had worked with them from the beginning to make the organisation of the annual event possible such as the late Kwame Ayew, Dr Juliet Tuakli, Mrs Arafua Apaloo-Aning, Patrick Masoperh, Mrs Mona Asem and Nana Tuffuor.

"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 behaviour and so we knew that we would have to pursue this cause over a long term," she said.

"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 said.

She said succeeding in growing Ghana would contribute immensely to the country's realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which highlight elimination of poverty and hunger, and the need to ensure that people could enjoy prosperous lives within a healthy and well-preserved environment.

"Think about what Ghana would be like if we flowered Ghana?" she quizzed.

"Flowers give expression to deep human emotions – joy or sadness are expressed through them."

Ms Cobbah said flowers could create much needed jobs and generate valuable foreign exchange for national growth and individual livelihood enhancement.

"Ghana's independence can become more meaningful as our flora and fauna are harnessed. This must be good news but good news requires action on our part as individuals if we are to obtain the benefits."

Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who chaired the function, said it was heartwarming that a private company, Stratcomm Africa, with the support of other private sector sponsors, was pursuing such a significant initiative which had such benefits for our environment, livelihoods and economy.

Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Ghana's Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 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 deserves commendation," she said.

Ms Carol Annang, the Managing Director of the New Times Corporation, appealed to the government to set example for the citizenry by ensuring that the grounds of national edifices such as the Flagstaff House and the Peduase Lodge were well decorated with flowers.

Other speakers at the event include the Turkish Ambassador to Ghana, Nesrin Bayazit; the Royal Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Ron Strikker, and Mr Kwame Owusu-Boateng, Chief Executive of Officer, Opportunity International Savings and loans.