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Let’s celebrate the Farmers

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By Dr. Kofi Amponsah Bediako, A Development Communications Consultant.

Farming is an important and rewarding business that must be preserved, improved upon and developed for the sustenance of many and that explains why Farmer’s Day has been instituted to reward the hardwork and commitment of food crop, fishers and animal reares.

This year’s National Farmers’ Day is to be celebrated in Cape Coast in the Central Region to honor farmers who have been working hard over the years to ensure adequate output of food and raw materials for the country. Even though farming comes in various forms and is considered vital in economic development, the youth of today find it unattractive because farming activity is perceived as too difficult and challenging. It is important to note however, that people who have embraced farming over the years have been able to create wealth for themselves and the country as a whole.

Apart from producing food for the people, farmers are also able to sell their produce to earn some income for themselves. Farming activities may be in the form of crop cultivation, fishing and aquaculture, commercial cultivation of crops for export, as well as agro processing.

The theme for the 2021 National Farmers’ Day is: “Planting for Food and Jobs – Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana. The theme is very important for a number of reasons.

In the first place, Planting for Food and Jobs as a programme has helped this country tremendously. The country is able to feed itself and even export some of its foodstuffs to neighbouring countries. It is, therefore, necessary to continue and strengthen this programme so that adequate food supply will be available for the country.

Secondly, output in the agricultural sector should not remain in the raw form but processed further to let the output stay for a longer time. This way, then youth can take advantage of going into food processing to add more value. Here, the value chain can consist of a series of opportunities that can be exploited by people to create more jobs for the youth.

One such opportunity is the establishment of storage facilities for the produce in the agricultural sector. Another one will be the provision of transportation systems to help in the movement of the produce from one place to the other. It is important to ensure that every effort is made by the government to encourage all those who want to engage in serious farming.

This is the only way to encourage the young ones to go into farming. Apart from crop farming, we must also show interest in aquaculture so that different kinds of fish can be produced to feed the people with balanced diets to make them healthy.

The agricultural industry contributes at least 20 to 30% of revenue to the country’s socio- economic development as the import and export business generates income for many households and allows the economy to thrive. However, issues such as climate change have had negative impacts on the industry. Since the introduction of Planting for Food and Jobs, agriculture output has increased from negative growth in 2016 to a positive growth of over 6 Percent, declining slightly in the second quarter of this year. What this means is that every effort will have to be made to ensure further upward growth to significantly higher levels. The price of fertilizer should be made affordable to serve the interest of farmers. The supply of fertilizers should be made regular and available at the appropriate time.

As farmers are being encouraged through the various awards presented to them over the years, the people in the country must see farming as an option that can serve as a means of livelihood to compete with white collar jobs.

We congratulate all farmers throughout the country and urge them to continue to work hard to feed the country.

Ayekoo!!! to our hard-working farmers and fishermen.

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