James Amoh Jnr, GNA
Tema, Dec 6, GNA - Mr Alfred Nii Ayi Clottey, Tema West Municipal Director of Agriculture, says uncontrolled real estate development is stripping urban Tema of fertile lands for agricultural purposes.
This, he said, was detrimental to food security and called for measures to urgently reverse the trend.
"It has become very worrying, as most farmers in the municipality are thrown out of jobs as a result of the phenomenon which has become very pervasive and hindering agriculture in the Municipality," he said.
The Municipal Director of Agriculture was addressing the 35th National Farmers' Day celebration held on Friday at Adjei-Kojo.
The 2019 celebration, the second in the municipality after its creation, was on the national theme: "Enhancing small scale agriculture towards agribusiness development” and geared towards celebrating the achievements of distinguished farmers, fisher folks and processors.
Deserving farmers and fisher folks were awarded prizes in various categories.
According to Mr Nii Ayi Clottey, whiles the real estate industry was expanding in urban communities, agriculture was struggling to maintain its stake, emphasizing that the phenomenon had necessitated the need for farmers to leverage the modularity of containerized farms and technology as a sustainable means of agriculture in the Municipality.
He expressed confidence that there could be a re-designing of the concept of Agriculture in the Tema West Municipality with the prime objective of modernizing the sector and making it more sustainable.
"As a department, we will therefore use all technologies and pragmatic interventions available to enhance agricultural activities of farmers, building their capacity and re-orienting farmers to critically consider faming as business ventures,” he said.
He indicated that the Municipality had chalked some successes in promoting agriculture, and said in the area of crop production under government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, over 400 farmers had benefited from highly subsidized prices for maize and vegetable inputs such as improved seeds and fertilizers.
As part of the programme, he further noted that 540 farmers whose farms were affected by the fall army warms were supplied with agrochemicals to salvage their crops and boost production.
Mrs Adwoa Amoako, Tema West Municipal Chief Executive, said government recognized agriculture as a catalyst for economic growth hence there was need to adopt innovations in developing the sector and promoting the Agribusiness across the value chain.
She explained that, in promoting Agribusiness and dealing with the excesses in the sector, government had initiated the Planting for food and Jobs (PFJ) and Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) flagship programmes to improve yields, access to market, reducing post-harvest losses and enhancing extension services delivery.
She added that in spite of the tremendous gains in ensuring food security in the Municipality, the global menace of climate change was affecting crop production and needed innovative strategies to address it and deal with its rippling effects.
Fifty two (52) year old crop and live stock farmer, Adamu Naaba from Garu in the Upper East Region, was crown the overall best farmer for the Tema West Municipality and for his prize, he received; a tricycle, agrochemicals, cutlasses, Knapsack sprayer, set of radio, box of alcoholic beverage, hamper among others.