Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia yesterday launched this year’s National Farmers Day celebrations which will be held in the Northern Region later in the year.
The event, which is the 34th edition since the introduction of the awards scheme, is expected to attract stakeholders in agriculture and fisheries from across the country and beyond.
Dr Bawumia said on that day the country would honour her farmers and fishermen through whose hard work the nation provided food for the nation.
He indicated that the introduction of a number of reforms, including a cash donation of about $100, 000 to the National Best Farmer last year and the inception of an exhibition to showcase the country’s agricultural endowment and diversity were part of reforms to improve on the awards.
Ghana Beyond Aid
On the role of agriculture in pursuance of the “Ghana Beyond Aid” pledge by the government, the Vice- President said it was not a mere political rhetoric as the government was serious about the undertaking.
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According to him, a coordination of strategies and contributions of all ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) by the Senior Minister towards the realisation of the Ghana Beyond Aid objective was ongoing.
“The vision of the Ghana Beyond Aid as espoused by President Akufo-Addo is a call to action, it requires deliberate quantitative and qualitative change in all aspects of the lives of Ghanaians. Its manifestation will include a structural change in the country’s economy, especially the agricultural sector, macroeconomic stability, improved infrastructure, digitisation and a value addition-based economy, a vibrant private sector, well-trained human resources and above all an attitudinal change that holds firm the norms and values that define us as a people,” he explained.
The Vice-President noted that the agricultural sector identified closely with those ideals because of their direct impact on the growth and development of the sector.
Last year, Dr Bawumia said the agricultural sector accounted for 18.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recorded an estimated growth of 8.4 per cent after a decade of erratic growth averaging less than four per cent.
“The diagnosis of the lower than expected performance of the sector over the years indicates that the agricultural sector is plagued by low productivity arising from low adoption of technology such as improved seeds and fertilisers, poor infrastructure, poor access to market and high post -harvest losses, as well as aged farmers’’, he added.
He mentioned some interventions being rolled out such as the construction of 570 dams in the three regions of the north next year and the investment of close to $1 billion in road infrastructure this year under the Sinohydro intervention.
Planting for food and jobs
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, commended all stakeholders in the sector for the successes chalked up so far and said the ministry would take advantage of the lifting of the ban on the importation of vegetables to the European market to increase export of vegetables to match cocoa production.
Dr Afriyie Akoto indicated that about half a million more beneficiaries of the Planting for Food and Jobs would be engaged this year.
He also announced the construction of over 50 warehouses under the Ghana National Buffer Stock Company to enhance the storage of agricultural produce.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ms Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, also catalogued a number of initiatives undertaken by the fisheries sector such as the construction of landing sites in Axim, Mumford, Teshie and Winneba; the intensification of patrols on the sea by the Navy and marines, among other interventions, and appealed to the traditional rulers to assist the ministry to ensure that fishing laws were obeyed.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, in a brief remark, gave an assurance that the region was ready for the Farmers Day celebration.
He also called on potential investors in the agricultural sector to consider investing in the region since it had the resources to meet their demands.