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The General Agricultural Workers? Union (GAWU) of Trades Union Congress, has congratulated the hardworking farmers of Ghana on the occasion of the 30th National Farmers Day-2014.gawu

In a statement GAWU said it considered the theme of this year?s celebration: ?Eat what you grow,? a timely and significant call which supports their long standing campaigns and advocacy for the consumption of local agricultural produce in Ghana, especially local rice and poultry products?.

“Majority of farmers and their families who live in rural areas are also among the poor and marginalised in the country although several attempts by various stakeholders, including past and recent governments to address the many challenges confronting the agricultural sector, issues of access to land and water resources and poor infrastructural development are still persistent and widespread,” the statement said.

According to GAWU these are not the only problems confronting farmers but are the main factors contributing to the declining of share of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product that we are seeing in recent years.

“GAWU has no doubt that given the requisite skills attention and support, the hardworking farmers in Ghana can and will be able to produce to meet local demands and for export. The strong conviction and commitment of Ghana to produce significantly to meet domestic consumption, industrial need and for export is hinged on the great potential of the agricultural sector to grow beyond the levels seen in recent years,” the statement said.

It said GAWU believe that growth could only be attained by a strong pro-agriculture approach driven by productivity growth or yield growth, plus associated public investments which could revolutionise rural Ghana and change the face of poverty in the country.

GAWU wishes to remind government and stakeholders to recognise smallholder farmers as the main investor in the agricultural sector and hence any attempt to support agriculture in Ghana through policies and investments should focus on addressing the challenges confronting them as a priority.

It said the attempts of government to modernise agriculture through the Plant Breeder?s Bill (PBB) currently before Parliament would only pave way for the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms and resources, including genetically modified seeds and other planting materials.

The PBB if passed into law in its current form would undermine smallholder?s access and control over seeds and planning materials, threaten farmers? ingenious food system and production practices, put the health of costumers in danger with severe consequences for the development o f the country, it said.

GAWU drew governments attention to some critical issues of smallholder farmers, which require immediate attention as they call on consumers to ?eat what they grow? which includes the improvement of seeds and other planting materials accessible to farmers, which should not be genetically modified.

It said farmers should be supported by government to access fertilizers through the reintroduction of the fertilizer subsidy market, increment of the number of the Agricultural Mechanisation Service Centres in rural areas to support farmers with accessible services, access to markets for inputs required for production as well as markets for agricultural produce.

The statement called for the facilitation of access of agricultural workers to affordable finance for farming and related agricultural activities.

GNA

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