Food in abundance: Truth be told!
I once read an inscription somewhere, and it captured my sentiments about farmers, the sustainable profession of one’s grandparents.
The inscription read: “If you have food on your table today, thank the farmer.”
And so I am thanking hardworking Ghanaian farmers, seeing the plentiful supply of foodstuffs all over.
It gives the hope that no matter our stark difficulties as a country, families will have food at home because we are not in scarcity.
Prices may invariably be high, but the truth is that the more the supply the more likely prices would be driven down. The regret, though, is that we still are unable to preserve or store for the lean seasons.
I have recently been to two popular markets in different parts of the capital and was pleasantly dismayed to see foodstuffs on such plentiful display. One could virtually walk over staples like fresh yams, plantains, cocoyam, sweet potatoes and water yams everywhere one turned.
The same goes with vegetables like kontomire, our local spinach; garden eggs, peppers, green berries or kwahu nsusua and some amount of okra.
Fruits such as oranges and pawpaw could not be left out of the joy of my encounters at the open markets visited.
The spillover is what one sees in neighbourhood stalls and is sometimes carried around by hawkers.
A clear sign of abundant foodstuffs is when one begins to see roasted plantain sellers popping out on street corners. These days, one can count them in their numbers all over the city.
Also are the booming plantain and cocoyam chips business. The sellers are doing brisk selling in traffic.
The joyful signs, therefore, remind one that it is a valuable time to pause and thank the farmers who are making things possible for us to have our staples in abundance. As another celebration period for the nation to formally recognise our gallant farmers with the Regional and National Farmers’ Day approaches, one would like to go ahead with an ovation for all farmers, big or small.
In every corner of the country, let these silent hard-working farmers be counted now ahead of the 39th National Farmers’ Day to be celebrated in December.
Talking about Farmers’ Day reminds one of a request to have many more captured in the net and celebrated.
Such public recognition, if extended to levels more than we are doing now, would be a great impetus for many to turn to farming as a profession.
It needs no repeating that if adequate push, in terms of incentives and recognition, were given to farming, many of the youth who troop to the cities and towns in search of jobs and those who cross perilous seas and desserts to go and seek greener pastures elsewhere would perhaps have no reason to do so.
Celebrating farmers needs more than what is done on Farmers’ Day. It is time to extend the appreciation to much lower levels to capture and recognise the efforts of the many more who are feeding the nation at village levels.
It is time to task our creative minds to find ways to highlight and raise the dignity of those who are tilling the land and bringing us food. For example, recognising them as highlights at local festivals.
The Plantain Festival of the people of Agogo in the Asante Akim District of Ashanti is a shining example of how a town or an area could bring dignity to its farmers. The festival has brought encouragement to the people of the area to take up not only plantain but other food farming as well.
I believe if the assemblies and chiefs brought their minds to it, such food festivals could thrive.
Already, popular local festivals like the Yam festival in the Volta Region bring the hard work of yam farmers to mind. So does the Homowo festival, which, as one understands, means ‘hooting at hunger’, makes one recollect the history behind the festival — an abundance of food.
If one were to do an honest assessment, in terms of importance or necessity, one would put farmers ahead of many of the promotions that one sees sponsors running for. Such promotions as Miss Ghana, Mr Ghana, Miss Malaika, and Ghana’s Most Beautiful are of little or no consequence to our well-being compared with the organic foods that line our tables as a result of someone’s hard work.
Where would all of us be without the farmers and the work they do that feeds us?
A total support for farmers would also mean many more markets for their produce. It would mean more food processing plants or factories. In addition, there should be proud patronage of our local foods rather than imported food items.
It is fulfilling to note that countries around the globe, including America, make it a point to celebrate their farmers. Such countries have also devoted certain dates in the year as their Farmers’ Day to give special recognition to those who bring food to their tables while exporting the excesses to boost their economies.
Foodstuffs are here in abundance. It is time to bless the farmer who produced them and encourage many more to take up the trade, reminding them that they are of importance to our sustenance.