This year’s National Farmers’ Day is being observed today owing to the fact that Ghana goes to the polls on December 7 to elect both the President and parliamentarians, though December 4 will still be observed as a public holiday.
The B&FT uses this auspicious occasion to congratulate the country’s hardworking farmers and fisherfolk on the occasion of the 36th National Farmers’ Day celebration.
Without their untiring efforts to put food on the tables of Ghanaians, food security would be illusive.
This year’s National Farmers’ Day is particularly solemn because the world is still battling an unknown virus that has overwhelmed even the most powerful of countries on the globe while a remedy is sought.
This fact has been amply magnified in the second-quarter GDP growth report of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) which clearly showed that while growth in the industrial and services sectors contracted during the peak of the pandemic, agriculture maintained its resilience and led with the highest growth of 2.5 percent.
Hence, there is every reason to celebrate our gallant farmers and fisherfolk because they maintained fortitude and despised the devastating impact of coronavirus to put food on our tables. The government instituted National Farmers’ Day in 1985 to recognize the vital role farmers play in socio-economic development.
Hence, the first Friday of the month of December every year is set aside to honour farmers and fishermen. This celebration has now been ingrained in national life with the prizes on offer growing more valuable with each passing year.
In recent times, the focus has been to view the sector as a business rather than just for subsistence, so that the farmer can reap the benefits of his/her labour, provided they adopt improved agronomic practices by using improved seeds, fertilizers and adopt mechanization processes to ease the drudgery associated with the vocation.
Among the challenges faced by smallholder farmers who form the bulk of agricultural producers (roughly 70%) is the unreasonably high rate of post-harvest losses which has been an age-old problem which can reach levels of 49% of the volume of output depending on the crop in question.
This is currently being addressed with the construction of 80 warehouses in every district of the country with 51 so far completed. Also, marketing is also being addressed through the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) which among other things, guarantees an assured income to farmers by providing a minimum guaranteed price and ready market.
Though we admit there is still a lot to be done before the country is self-sufficient in food production, there is still a lot to celebrate.