The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated that Ghana, as an emerging economy seeking to accelerate growth and sustainable development, must adopt agricultural best practices such as agricultural fairs to complement home-grown solutions to enhance economic transformation.
He advocated internalisation of agricultural fairs as strategic events which must be adopted to promote the development of agriculture, and to fast-track economic growth on a sustainable basis.
He said: “Agricultural fairs have served their intended purpose of transforming agriculture in North America and benefitted millions of people, especially actors along the agriculture value chain. Such fairs have become common global events held in many countries, because participation is generally believed to be one of the secrets to running a profitable and efficient agri business”.
Enumerating the benefits of agric fairs, Dr. Bawumia noted that such occasions present an opportunity for stakeholders, especially farmers, to have direct access to experts for better understanding of applying agro products and technologies; as well as learning at first-hand about innovations by industry experts and researchers.
The Vice President made these remarks in a speech read on his behalf at the opening session of a week-long agricultural fair held at Techiman, the Bono East Region capital. The fair is part of activities marking the 36th National Farmers’ Day celebration, which will be climaxed on Friday November 6, 2020 in Techiman.
In attendance at the fair were actors in the agricultural value chain who came from across the length and breadth of the country. They included farmers, agro-processors, input dealers, service providers and researchers among others. The theme for this year Farmers’ Day is ‘Ensuring Agricultural Development under COVID-19; Challenges and opportunities’.
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, in a speech read for him stressed the need for a renewed sense of urgency to build robust food systems that will better insulate the country during emergencies like the outbreak of COVID-19.
He said the closure of borders and major slowdown in economic activities following the COVID-19 outbreak constituted a recipe for food shortage and hunger – but the country survived what would have been an unexpected food security challenge, thank to the efforts of farmers and positive impact of government agricultural policies. Hence the need to accelerate the pace of agricultural modernisation and transformation to consolidate the gains.
“Government has the firm conviction that this agenda can be achieved – with a new focus and orientation of elevating agriculture from obsolescence and a subsistence way of life, to a new mindset of perceiving agriculture as a business. A lot more remains to be done, and there are many interventions in the pipeline that are designed to reinforce the efforts being made and ensure the objectives of achieving self-sufficiency and shared prosperity are achieved,” he said.
For his part, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Francis Ato Codjoe, said implementing the Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ) programme has the potential to increase domestic fish production and create more job opportunities; adding that the programme which was rolled out in January 2020 has so far covered 13 out of the 16 regions, benefitting 25 different institutions and groups.
The beneficiary institutions and groups he noted, include 6 senior high schools, a college of education, 4 prison camps, 13 youth groups and an association of fish farmers – indicating that: “The support included the construction of a total 124 holding facilities made up of 108 ponds and 16 cages stocked with fingerlings. Beneficiaries have also been supported with fish feed”.