ON December 1, last year, the country marked the annual Farmer’s Day celebration in the usual grand style, where selected farmers were rewarded for their hard work and commitment to food cultivation.
In all, some 90 farmers were rewarded with various prizes and accolades to help motivate them pursue a worthy course.Last year’s event was the 33rd edition after the award was instituted in 1984 to help recognise the contribution of farmers to national development.
Suffice to say that the event has produced hundreds of award winners, majority of whom are still in the business of producing food to feed the nation.
The big question, however, is after the award’s day on the first Friday of the month of December, what strategic plan of improvement has been put in place for these winners?
At least, a little more than 30 best farmers have been produced since the commencement of the policy or system yet nothing is heard from them on their progress or retrogression.
This article gives some pointers that can be used in that regard.
Advance farming technology
The best farmer for the year and the other regional best farmers could as well be resorted and provided with commercial agricultural framing techniques such as use of tractors: combine harvesters, better farming chemical, post-harvest techniques; maximum farming (commercial farming) process.
These actions, when planned and implemented, could assist them to migrate from whatever current level of winning to a more commercial but advanced level of farming.
They have achieved a certain recognisable level but this time round they should migrate from their farming level to even other fields in agricultural practices and in other regions or even to other countries in the ECOWAS sub-region.
A more commercial level of international repute shall be appreciable. It can be done.
The reason is to propel these hardworking and award winning laureates to higher levels in business.
This can propel the nation onto a food production and other agricultural production hub of West Africa. This is achievable.
Marketing and foreign competition
An increase in acreage would require a supporting market to absorb the excess output from the exercise.
Yes, the system to be introduced must include locally created market; silos, factories to buy and pay for the farm produce.
Some of such suggestions must reflect a true nationalistic intend and purpose. They should also be devoid of any political dimensions.
There is always competition from foreign products (imported farm products) from the sub-region and from Europe.
Such importing sources should be blocked, not just through policy implementation but better product package, quality, price and presentation.
Product quality (Standards)
But the nation should be concerned with their post-awarded activities and persons whose efforts have contributed to the survival, sustenance of the people of this nation.
In an effort to capture certain portions of the national and international crop market, the quality of the farm produce should be of standard (quality) in terms of nutritional value, content quality and nature from maintenance with less additives. Aside this, the products must be well packaged with expert hands and presentation.
Enough financial resources must be provided but with the care and cautioning that loans are no gratis (free money).
It must be paid (principal) with the interest rate and on time and without any excuses.
Training and development
The success of all these would depend on the award training on the migration in business plan exposed to the winners. It shall cover all required areas of concern such as better financial management, use of information technology, financial transactions, use of information technology in farming, marketing, HRM and many more must be provided to the award winning persons.
It is imperative to note that these actions are meant to be a national affair to provide 100% agricultural output from successful farmers. It is also meant to render the best and after winning concern for fellow distinction at their calling in their endeavours.
Rules & Regulations
Any sustainable event should be achieved through well-structured policy, excellent rules and regulation. There can be rules and regulation to guide the policy implementation of the idea for successful application. This is because the best farmers are being placed in a position which could assist them in climbing to a higher level: that is commercialising their farming activities. It is a conscious effort and a must win action, for all intends and purposes.
This is mother Ghana yearning for improvement in the agricultural sector. But this could become a reality through conscious and careful means. “Aye Koo Best Farmers of Ghana”— GB
The writer is a lecturer at the Regent University College of Science & Technology