Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), on Friday called for a multi-sectoral approach to address emerging challenges in the agriculture sector.
He said challenges in the sector were enormous and required collective approach and contributions from the private sector to make the industry attractive not only to increase food productivity but also encourage the youth to go into commercial farming.
Dr Alhassan made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the 32ndNational Farmers’ Day celebration at Kintampo in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
About 80 award winners and several deserving farmers were honoured in the celebration which was under the theme “Agriculture: A Business Response to Economic Growth”.
The ultimate national best farmer will receive a three-bedroom house while other farmers would be going home with prizes including tractors, combine harvesters, motorbikes and tricycles as well as other farm inputs and logistics.
Dr Alhassan said the government had increased efforts to transform the agricultural sector and made it vibrant to spur socio-economic growth and development.
He said the crop sector had been improved significantly, adding that local cassava now remained a major resource material for most of the brewery companies in the country.
Some of the award winners who spoke to the GNA called on the youth, especially those in Brong-Ahafo, to take advantage of the fertile and vast land in the region and engage in commercial farming.
They debunked the notion that farming was a preserve for the poor and school dropouts and emphasised that “agriculture is a lucrative business” and a potential source of wealth for the people.
The farmers, however, added that the government must do more to make the sector attractive to motivate the youth to regard farming as s serious business.
Mr. Godfred Alimo, the 2016 National Best Fingerlings Producer, pointed out that the cost of feed remained the major challenge confronting the aquaculture industry and appealed to the government to subsidize it.
He said farmers in the sector had to spend huge sums of money to import the feed, which was discouraging many of them to remain in the business.
Mr. Francis Sam, the National Citrus Best Famer, called for a national board to regulate the citrus industry.
He said successive governments had shown little or no attention to help the sector to grow and mentioned lack of market and standardised price as the major challenges facing farmers in that sector.
Mrs. Yaa Agyemang Prempeh, National Best Pig Farmer, lauded efforts being made by the government to improve on pig production, saying initially marketing was very slow but with government intervention the business was doing well.
Mr. Davies Narh Korboe, Chairman of the Award Winners Association and the 2009 National Best Farmer, called for a review in the organisation of the national Farmers’ Day celebration.
He observed that private sector participation in general organisation of the award was very low and because of that it had been difficult for successive governments to identify and address some major challenges facing the farmers.