farmers
farmers

It started at Osino in the Eastern Region and the date was Friday, December 27, 1985. Ghana had come out of two difficult years when food was in short supply as a result of prolonged dry seasons.bekker-farmers-first-harvest11-1024x767

As stated by Mr I.K. Adjei Marfo, who was the Secretary (Minister) of Agriculture during the first Farmers Day, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) instituted the day ?to honour farmers for their untiring efforts to feed the country?.

Since then, farmers and fishers have been honoured consistently every December in recognition of their efforts to produce the bulk of the nation?s wealth and ensure that the population is fed.

Yesterday in the Western Region town of Sefwi Wiawso, for the 30th time since its inception, 75 people involved in agriculture, mainly farmers and fisher-folk, were given national honours for their efforts to feed the nation. This is in addition to many others who were honoured in the regions and districts.

As we honour our farmers, the Daily Graphic congratulates the award winners and, indeed, all those involved in the agricultural chain ? farmers, fishers, and the agro industrialists and academics who may not have won awards ? and assures them that Ghanaians will forever remain grateful for their efforts.

In a country endowed with land and conditions suitable for agriculture, it is sad that we spend about $1.5 billion annually to import food items, most of which can be produced locally. The ?selection of the theme, ?Eat what we grow?, is born out of our ?excessive patronage of foreign food items.

We commend the government for its efforts to encourage Ghanaians to consume made-in-Ghana produce. This, without doubt, will enable us to create job opportunities for the teeming youth and save large amounts of foreign exchange which can be used for development infrastructure like roads.

We would like to emphasise the need to ensure that the efforts of the farmers are not in vain by providing them with the necessary infrastructure that would enable them to carry out their activities without let or hindrance.

The issue of post-harvest losses does not appear to have been properly taken care of, to the extent that annually, farmers produce large quantities and have to sell them off cheaply or have their produce going bad as a result of lack of storage facilities.

The Daily Graphic is of the opinion that in order to encourage more young people to go into farming, there must be a guaranteed market and price for farm produce to assure farmers that they can make profit out of their farming ventures.

Many farmers have also had to contend with their produce being locked up at the farm gates as a result of the bad nature of many of our roads which prevents them from sending their farm produce to the marketing centres.

For instance, in the Western Region where the day was observed, 87 per cent of the feeder roads are reported to be in bad shape. Under such conditions, and with farm produce locked up in the hinterlands, majority of the people who live outside the farming areas are left with no option than to fall on imported foods.

 

Although agriculture has seen a remarkable improvement in the last few decades, we are of the opinion that a lot still needs to be done to ensure that the farmers and fisher-folk of this country take their rightful place in the country.

Each Ghanaian has a role to play in this by eating what we grow.

Daily Graphic December 06, 2014

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