President John Dramani Mahama has stated that this year, the government spent GH¢120 million in supporting the rice, cashew and agro-processing sectors, as well as the importation of tractors for farmers.
“Additionally, the government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture opened up more mechanization centres across the regions of the country and this has led to increased food security,” he stated.
President Mahama who disclosed these in a speech read for him by a Member of the Council of State, Mr Adenze Kanga, at the 31st edition of National Farmers Day held in Bolgatanga on Friday, said Government recognised the important role the agriculture sector played in the socio-economic development of the country.
He stated that Government also supported fishermen in some fishing communities with 3000 outdoor motors, fish finders and the provision of cold stores at sea landing sites to enable them to conduct their businesses effectively to help improve upon their livelihoods.
President Mahama indicated that more cold stores were being constructed, and that next year government through Public-Private Partnership would work to improve the agriculture sector to make it more productive.
He stated that also from 2016, the government would spend over GH¢3 billion to boost the cocoa sector, import 500 tractors for the farmers and put up measures to help address post harvest losses.
He explained that the said amount would be used to maintain and construct new roads to open up cocoa growing areas in the country. “When this is done it would not only help address postharvest losses but would also mitigate the inconvenience of cocoa farmers,” he said.
Mr Fifi Kwetey, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, expressed happiness about the willingness of the youth to go into agriculture and said this year’s farmers day event saw very young people at the ages of 27 and 28 years winning awards. He impressed upon young people to venture into agricultural production.
“Unlike before, when only the aged were found going into agriculture ventures, things have changed now as the youth are now taking interest in the sector. The agriculture sector holds the future of this country and more youth should be encouraged to take up the venture to help boost the economy,” he emphasised.
The Sector Minister indicated that the Northern Rural Growth Project implemented in the northern Regions of the country was one of the best interventions introduced by the Ministry to help address the value chain in the agricultural sector, and that the project which had worked perfectly to improve upon smallholder farmers in the rural areas would be replicated nationally.
This year’s farmers day celebration was held on the theme, “Transform Ghana, Invest in Agriculture”.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur who was expected to address the function, could not attend because his flight was cancelled due to the bad weather conditions resulting from severe harmattan weather.
The overall best farmer went to Mr Ibrahim Musah from the Dorma Municipality in Brong Ahafo Region, whilst the second and third runner-ups went to Mr Augustine Boateng from the Asonafo District also in the Brong Ahafo Region and Ms Charity Akwatia from the Agona West District of the Central Region respectively.