Celebration of farmers should focus on their dev’t – GAWU

The U.S. Government has awarded COVID-19 Relief and Resilience grants to 12 agricultural finance intermediaries in the country.

The Secretary General of General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Edward Kareweh has registered his displeasure about the usual way of celebrating farmers without any significant changes for the past years.

Mr. Kareweh, speaking to the B&FT, said that annual celebration of farmers’ day have been the same practice since its introduction and does not contribute any substantial impact on farmers and the agriculture sector.

“The farmers’ day celebration, since its inception in 1985 has being ritualistic; it is an annual event and we have had concerns about the way the celebration has been conducted over the years. We are with the strong opinion that it could be better celebrated in the sense that you don’t award farmers and after the day they cannot find market for their produce. The development aspect of farmers’ day celebration is totally missing,” he said.

He noted that the expenditure of the celebration should be reviewed and reduce the burden on the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB). “The burden of celebrating farmers’ day is so huge and based on voluntary contributions from companies and so on. Because the economy is challenged and companies are suffering, they are not able to donate more.

So, government has to rely on ADB to finance most of the celebration and reduces the bank’s ability to deliver on its mandate. There is a need to do an overall assessment or an audit of the farmers’ day celebration to make sure that the day becomes more relevant to farmers and to the people of this country,” he noted.

The 37th farmers’ day celebration which came off in Cape Coast a few days ago under the theme ‘Planting for food and jobs; Consolidating food systems in Ghana’ was celebrated to appreciate farmers and fishers as well as awarding deserving farmers and fishers from various regions in the country.

Meanwhile, the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his address at the celebration stated that plans are underway to establish facilities for manufacturing fertilizers to address the high demand of fertilizer by farmers in the country.

“One obvious downside of the pandemic has been the upsurge of wild prices of fertilizer. Some manufacturing companies shut down or reduced production because of the increase in gas prices and suppliers could not provide the requisite quantity needed for the 2021 production season.

This development has intensified the need for us to have our own domestic facility for the manufacturing of fertilizers in significant quantities to meet our needs. The government is working on this,” he said.

In a response to this, Mr. Kareweh stressed on the need for Ghana to establish its own fertilizer manufacturing company. “It is long overdue for Ghana to start manufacturing its own fertilizer, but these are the failures of policy makers. They said agriculture is the backbone of the economy, yet their actions do not support that. Not to talk of the oil farm production, rubber production and other plantation in agriculture all of them need fertilizer, so this country’s demand for fertilizer will continue to rise.”

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