National Farmers’ Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday of December. This year’s one is the 34th edition since the introduction of the awards scheme, and it will be held in the Northern Region.
Expectedly, the event will attract stakeholders in agriculture and fisheries from across the country and beyond to mark the day, which highlights the important role of agriculture in the Ghanaian economy and society as a whole.
It also underlines the importance and relevance of agriculture in our daily lives and local communities.
By linking agriculture more closely with society, the celebration ensures that citizens are kept informed of developments in agriculture, aside underscoring the role farmers and fishers play in making our societies more sustainable.
As a nation, we are gradually realizing that the agriculture-based strategy ought to be at the core of any effective route out of poverty and the transformation of the economy.
Now that there is a strong policy direction by the Government to serve as incentives, we members of the Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Association would like to encourage young people, especially the unemployed, to take advantage of the current atmosphere to go into farming, livestock, and poultry.
Poultry production remains very poor with the domestic supply of broiler meat just at 10 percent, while the remaining 90 percent is imported. We want to see the government’s commitment to improving local poultry production in the country.
There should be an establishment of poultry processing plants across the country to boost the performance of local poultry against the foreign ones in the Ghanaian market. This will help local poultry producers to process their products and make them more accessible to consumers.
As we indicated in our statement last year, the poultry, aquaculture and livestock industry will provide a substantial base for employment and development in Ghana if the Government shows commitment in the sector.
While we are at it, we want to appeal to lending institutions to look at the agriculture sector to assist local farmers with single-digit interest loans with flexible repayment conditions, since funding is one of the major challenges of the agriculture sector.
Even though finance is key to increase production and expand the frontiers of agriculture and its related businesses, the land is the resource that has a central position in agriculture.
Land ownership, transfer, sale or lease, and management remain a challenge in this country because guidelines for land use and acquisition are rooted largely in customary land tenure system.
There is no doubt that Ghana’s land tenure system has inflicted ‘savage repression’ on agriculture, besides its generation of conflict.
This, if not addressed, will derail and detract the Government’s intention to get the youth into agriculture as people continue to scramble for fertile lands to develop them into residential accommodations.
The government has a responsibility to make sure lands are made available for agriculture purpose.
On this note, we take this opportunity to salute our farmers and fishers for their continuous toil to sustain food security and contribution in building the nation’s economy.
Long live our gallant farmer and fishers!
Long live Ghana!!
Ernest Kofi Adu