Agriculture should be made part of school curriculum – Nii Ashietey
Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister on Wednesday stressed the need for agriculture to be made part of the school curriculum.
This, he said, would help the youth to develop an early interest in agriculture and venture into that sector when they grow into adults.
“There is an adage that teaches a child in the way he should go and when he grows, he would not depart from it”, he said.
Nii Ashietey was speaking at the second Greater Accra Regional Agricultural Forum at Amasaman.
It was organised by the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council under the theme “Together We Grow More Food to Kill Hunger”.
He said agriculture was a profitable venture as evidenced by the economic status of farmers in other parts of the world saying “agriculture is a business and not punishment”.
Nii Ashietey bemoaned the fact that Ghana had failed to grow and produce enough to feed her population and still imported food items such as rice, tomatoes and even though most people in Ghana were farmers and the National Farmers’ Day Awards had been celebrated since its inception in 1988.
He stated that changes should be made in the sector if it was necessary and advised that the discovery of oil should not take all attention away from agriculture since no nation could lay claim to greatness if it depended on another nation to feed its people.
Nii Ashietey explained that the theme for the forum had been chosen bearing in mind priority areas for the agricultural sector such as food security and emergency preparedness, improved growth in incomes and reduced income variability, sustainable management of land and environment as well as science and technology applied in food and agricultural development.
He called on chiefs to cultivate their lands instead of selling to estate developers.
Nii Ashitey urged the assemblies to be strict about the planning of their assemblies and not to give permits to people who wanted to use allocated farmlands for other purposes.
Nii Ebenezer Armah Tackie, Ga West Municipal Chief Executive said agriculture gave employment to about 55 per cent of economically active population in the municipality with 95 per cent being small scale holders.
He said the theme for the forum was appropriate as more people were migrating to the Region to seek greener pastures therefore, the authorities needed to find ways of increasing food production.
Nii Tackie said government had put in several measures to ensure that Ghana produced enough food to feed her citizens in order to increase productivity and internal security.
“When citizens are well fed, productivity would increase and internal security would be maintained, for it is often said “a hungry man is an angry man”.
Some of these measures taken by the municipality, he said, included the youth in agriculture programme, the national cockerel project, registration of farmers and introduction of agricultural broadcasting.
District Directors of Agriculture from Dangme West, Dangme East, Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Ashaiman Municipal Assembly (ASHMA), Adentan Municipal Assembly (AdMA), Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Ga West and Ga East Assemblies gave presentations on their activities since 2009 at the forum.
They undertook activities including block farming, input, cockerel projects, registration of farmers, vaccination of animals, farmer demonstrations.
Most of them reported gains but however, outlined certain challenges that had hindered their progress.
Some farmers in Dangme West, TMA and Ashaiman had some of their farms destroyed and some poultry and fish farms washed away by the recent floods in the Region.
In addition, unclear demarcation of boundaries at AdMA, Ashaiman and Tema had been a challenge to the farmers.
Other challenges included high costs of inputs, failure on the part of some farmers to repay loans, increase in estate development and encroachment on lands allocated for farming.