Vice President Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia has opened the 2019 Farmer’s Day Exhibition in Ho with a call on players in the agricultural sector to consider emerging technologies to grow the sector.

He also asked stakeholders to create “greater awareness’’ on the potentials of the agro industry and help farmers to use technology to enhance their activities.

Dr Bawumia said government was working, with the support of the private sector and the international community, to maximise the potentials of agriculture, growing from 2.9 per cent in 2016 to a projected 6.4 per cent in 2019.

He said the various modules of Government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme were carefully crafted to address challenges hampering agricultural development and asked the citizenry to take advantage of the interventions.

The Vice President said Government would quadruple irrigable lands with the undertaking of the irrigation phase of the Bui Dam, and also the construction of the Pwalugu dam, as well as the establishment of medium and small scale dams in the five regions of the north.

He reiterated government’s commitment to ending rice imports by 2024.

Dr Bawumia said government had a strong focus on the fisheries sector, which had seen the development of several fish landing sites, and procurement of 5,000 outboard motors to be distributed to fishermen.

He called on all mandated institutions to play their roles to ensure value for money within the sector.

Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, said agriculture was being developed into a viable venture.

He said with the recruitment of 2,700 new agricultural extension officers and the procurement of 3,000 motorbikes and 300 pickup trucks for use, farmers across the country would enjoy more of their services.

The Minister said all had been made available through Government’s enabling policy environment.

“Our philosophy is that farmers are our own constituents and would not be separated,” he said.

Mr Francis Kingsley Ato Cudjoe, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the fisheries sector’s significant contribution to the country’s food and nutritional security could not be overemphasised, and that in 2020, the Ministry would fully roll out the Aquaculture for the Food and Jobs programme.

He said the programme would mobilise 10,200 unemployed youth nationwide into Aquaculture Enterprise Groups, who would and be trained and supported to engage in commercial fish farming.

Mr Cudjoe said an estimated 7,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created, and 33,628 metric tonnes of additional fish produced under the programme.

Mr Ken Ofori Attah, the Minister of Finance, said the agriculture sector continued to be a priority of the Finance Ministry towards ending the over two billion-dollar worth of imports of foods that could be produced locally.

He noted that the banking sector’s support for farmers remained low, and that the Agricultural Development Bank had been engaged on spearheading lower interest rates for them, an initiative more banks were taking up.

Dr Archibaald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, said arable lands abounded in the country and that called for engagements of mind-sets to consider farming as a profession to meet food and export demands.

This year’s celebration is on the theme: “Enhancing Small Scale Agriculture towards Agribusiness Development,” which marks the fifth time the Volta Region is hosting the event.

On display are food products from across the country as well as farm technologies including irrigation systems, laboratory equipment and farm machinery.

Stakeholders including the Agricultural Ministry and international partners have taken stands at the fair, which runs till Saturday, December 07.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would grace the celebration on Friday, December 6, during which some 150 deserving farmers from across the country would be awarded.

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