The 36th Farmers Day celebration was launched in Accra yesterday on the theme: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges.”
The celebration, slated for November 6 at Techiman, the Bono East Regional capital, is expected to honour farmers whose efforts have been the backbone of the country’s economy.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, noted that Ghana’s agriculture was transitioning from subsistence and primary production to agribusiness level.
This, according to her, was to boost investment in the sector, create jobs, expand markets, and ensure the competition of goods and services for agriculture.
Touting the numerous visions of the government to reposition agriculture in the country, Mrs Quaye stated that fish landing sites were being constructed in selected communities such as Teshie and Jamestown in the Greater Accra Region; Mumford, Moree, Elmina, Senya Beraku and Winneba in the Central Region; Dixcove and Axim in the Western Region and Keta in the Volta Region.
According to the minister, “these landing sites would provide safe berthing for fishing vessels, including canoes and semi-industrial vessels, as well as provide facilities of improving fish handling and reducing post-harvest losses.”
She added that “300 global multi-purpose mini-tractors and 220 Cabrio compact tractors have been imported to support farming activities to help transform farming from subsistence to agribusiness.”
She said her ministry had commenced the implementation of the ‘Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ)’ as part of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative.
According to her, the AFJ, which targets youth groups, civic organisations and distraught fish farmers, would “increase domestic fish production and create decent job opportunities along the value chain.”
Mrs Quaye said “the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces government’s priority placed on the agriculture sector” and stressed that this had justified the present importance attached to agriculture.
The Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr Nurah Gyiele, reiterated the need to organise the event even in the midst of the pandemic because “farmers and fishers remain our first priority.”
Dr Gyiele reiterated that the government had given realistic significance to its pledge of changing the agricultural sector with the introduction of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’.
That, he said, had “exceeded expectations as the Food Crop Module focused on increasing productivity of farmers through the supply of subsidised input, effective extension services and the introduction of hybrid and high-yielding seeds for farmers.”
Dr Gyiele called on all stakeholders to generously donate in cash and kind for the successful hosting of the event.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR AND JUDITH AZAMACHIE