Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on Friday re-emphasized the need for the country to make research the bedrock of its agricultural production.
He explained that improved knowledge in agricultural practices through discoveries and better information would enhance agricultural productivity to meet the demands of the growing population, industry and the environment.
Mr Ahwoi was speaking at a dinner and launch of the 27th National Farmers Day and Sponsors in Accra.
The ceremony marks the beginning of the process to honour farmers and fishermen for their contribution to the socio economic development of the country at this year’s National Farmers Day Celebration scheduled for December 2, 2011 at Agona Nsabaa in the Central Region.
Companies and sponsors would also be recognised for supporting the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) throughout the years and helping to make the farmers day celebrations successful.
Mr Ahwoi said the performance of the agricultural sector and its contribution to the economy has been very significant and as such Ghanaians owe a lot of gratitude to their farmers.
He commended the vision of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and the “founding” Ministers of Food and Agriculture for instituting the celebration of the farmer’s day as a national holiday.
He said the contribution and support from the sponsors were in the form of a three bedroom house, 4/4 Pickups, tractors and other agricultural machinery to inputs such as fertilizer, seed and logistics such as Wellington boots, sprayers and cash donations.
Mr Ahwoi also acknowledged the contributions and support from the various sponsors of the national farmer’s days which include the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Stanbic Bank, Wienco Company Limited, Sidalco Limited, Citizen Kofi, Yara Limited, Chemico, Dizengoff, Cocobod, Agrimat and other organizations who have long been associated with the celebrated.
“Breaking bread with you at this dinner is our humble way of expressing the appreciation of government, the MOFA and our award winners”, he added.
Mr Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana, who launched an appeal for funds towards the National Farmer’s Day, said despite the agricultural sector’s contribution to national development, it is still bedevilled with a number of challenges which that is not allowing its potential to be fully tapped as well as not attracting the private sector and the youth.
He said whiles the government through MOFA has put in place policies and facilities to address the challenges, private individuals and organizations need to adopt strategies based on appropriate research information to exploit the numerous but hidden opportunities.
He said the partnership between government and the private sector to manufacture agro-processing machines to process and add value to farm commodities especially perishable products like watermelon, oranges and tomatoes would yield good results.
“While we still encourage our farmers to increase production and productivity, we should not loose sight of the need to enhance the quality and standards of the final products”, he said.
Mr Andani also stressed the need for efforts to be made to improve and expand the entire value chain activities from production through marketing, storage and processing to consumption.
“I believe my institution and our allies are aware of some of the challenges in the processing and preservation sector, especially regarding financing, and there is the need to help the state in supporting these areas”, he added