Ayekoo, our farmers
In the auditorium of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa in the Western Region, tables are laid and the stage is set awaiting gallant farmers from every part of the country to receive national honours for feeding the nation over the years.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will grace the occasion and convey the nation’s appreciation to the men and women who toil to till the land and exploit the ocean and rivers to put food on every table.
He will also crown the National Best Farmer among other awardees.
Over the years, awarding farmers happened at durbars on parks and stadia, mainly from the capital, Accra.
However, for many years the event has been decentralised for every region to have a feel of the National Farmers Day celebration.
From the Ashanti Region in 2017 when the 33rd edition of the Farmers Day was marked on the theme, “Planting for Food and Jobs”, it moved to the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale in 2018 for the 34th edition.
The celebration was on the theme: “Agriculture: Moving Ghana Beyond Aid”.
In 2019, the 35th celebration moved to Ho, the Volta Regional capital, and held on the theme, “Enhancing small-scale agriculture towards agribusinesses development".
In 2020, the 36th National Farmers Day was held at the Methodist Park at Techiman in the Bono East Region.
It was on the theme, “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19 – Opportunities and Challenges”.
The 37th National Farmers Day was held at Cape Coast, the Central Regional capital and was on the theme: “Planting for Food and Jobs — Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana”.
From there, it moved to Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, where the 38th edition was held on the theme: “Accelerating agricultural development through value addition”.
Today’s show, the 39th edition, will be on the theme: "Delivering smart solutions for sustainable food security and resilience".
Farmers Day was instituted by the government in 1985 in recognition of the vital role farmers and fishers play in the economy, especially the highly commendable output of farmers and fishermen in 1984, which resulted in about 30 per cent growth, after the bad agricultural years of 1982 and 1983.
It is celebrated on the first Friday of December every year.
The first National Farmers Day was celebrated on Friday, December 6, 1985 at Osino in the Eastern Region.
Since then, the event has rotated around the 10 regions to engage other regions to be part of this big event.
The institutionalised farmers day awards, which is always on a chosen theme, also acknowledge the untiring efforts of farmers and fishers at feeding the country’s growing population, providing raw materials to the nation’s industries, and contributing substantially to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
From a humble beginning of a machete, a pair of Wellington boots and a transistor radio as the award for the National Best Farmer, the award scheme has tremendously improved over the years.
The award to the first best farmer comprised two machetes, a pair of Wellington boots and a preset radio at a national durbar held at Osino in the Eastern Region in 1985.
Ever since, the value of the awards has improved from year to year, moving from bicycle to power tillers to tractors, to pickups and then to a three-bedroom house for the ultimate winner from 2002 to 2016.
For 17 years, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), has been supporting the Best Farmer with a prize equivalent to $100,000.
Other banks such as Stanbic Bank Ghana have stepped in handy to offer handsome packages to the farmers and fishers.
This development underscores the extent to which governments over the years have increasingly set great store by the National Farmers Day.