By Kodjo Adams/Benjamin Adamafio Commey, GNA
Accra, Sept. 11, GNA — The 35th Edition of the National Farmers’ Day has been launched in Accra with an assurance from government on reaping more benefits from the numerous interventions and initiatives in the sector.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the bumper harvest recorded by farmers last year was evident of the strides initiated by government for the sector.
This year’s event would be held under the theme: “Enhancing Small Scale Agriculture towards Agribusiness Development”.
“The bumper harvest recorded last year is a clear example and not a mere coincidence as some will believe. It was indeed the dividend of the Food Crop Module, the first to be rolled out under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ),” he said.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said government and for that matter the Ministry’s strategy has always been to build capacity on all fronts to enhance the adoption of technologies to boost food production and expand the raw material base for industries.
This, he said, was apparent with the construction of 30 warehouses across the country, each with a 1,000 metric tonnes capacity to ensure stability in prices of food and guaranteed farmer incomes.
He said other achievements within the space of two and half years include the procurement of hand-held equipment and other farm machinery to ensure production efficiency at the farm level and reduce drudgery of small holder farmers.
Touching on plans to enroll the youth into the sector, the Minister said, the Ministry through its Greenhouse initiative has established training centres at Dawhenya, Akomadan and Kasoa to equip the youth with modern technological skills to encourage the production of vegetables.
The intervention, he said, was aimed at promoting vegetable production and youth entrepreneurship with prospects of high earning incomes through the export of vegetables.
“It will also help to attain self-sufficiency in vegetable production and reduce importation with its adverse effect on the country’s balance of payment,” he said.
He said ultimately the promotion of Greenhouse technology would give meaning to the agenda of commercializing and transforming agriculture into a modern and competitive enterprise.
Mr Francis Ato Codjoe, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), called for a paradigm shift that would ensure that the sector moved from its current subsistence and supply-driven approach to a business-centred and demand-driven one.
He said this would ensure an improvement in employment, increment in household incomes, facilitate rural development as well as ensure national food security.
The Minister said the Fisheries Ministry would continue to implement policies and strategies that would not only transform the sector but also improve the capacity of Small Scale fishers.
The Farmers Day celebration, which was introduced by the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government in 1985, is aimed at recognising the vital role played by farmers and fishers in the country’s economy.