Starting today, November 2 until November 6, 2020, the Methodist Park at Techiman in the Bono East Region will be the centre of attraction. The country’s gallant farmers and fisher folks will gather there to be rewarded at a grand durbar to climax the 36th edition of the National Farmers’ Day celebration.
It will be another opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work of our farmers and honour them for their dedication and commitment to feed all.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, is expected to open today’s regional focus, with all regions showcasing their potential; while the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is expected to be the guest of honour to crown the Best Farmer 2020.
The innovation to the National Farmers’ Day which began 36 years ago is the regional focus days, where regions mount exhibitions and showcase their agricultural potential, alongside displaying their rich culture and foods peculiar to each region.
Today’s exhibition will be led by the host region, the Bono East; with the Northern, Western North, Eastern and Bono regions following, while the Upper West, Ashanti, Western, Greater Accra, Oti and the Savanna regions take their turn on Tuesday, that is Day Two.
For the day three, the Upper East, Ahafo, Volta, North East and Central regions will showcase their rich cultural heritage and their agricultural potential, while day four, dubbed “ADB Day”, will be dedicated to the headline sponsor, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).
Management and staff of the bank will use the opportunity to interact with the farmers and attend to their concerns. The bank will also educate the farmers on some of its latest innovative services and the digital platforms available. Award winners will rehearse and be taken through the programme for the climax, that is the awards day on the sixth day, which will be marked with a grand durbar and the awards ceremony.
It is expected to be graced by the President and will be followed by an award winners’ dinner.
Evolution of Farmers Day
The National Farmers’ Day has come a long way, and is definitely now a prominent event on our national calendar. From a machete, a pair of Wellington boots and a transistor radio as prizes for the National Best Farmer, the event has grown to the point where the best farmer now receives the prize of the money equivalent of a two-bedroom house at his or her preferred location.
Currently, even winners at the district levels receive enviable prizes, which shows the evolution of agriculture in the country as it is no longer seen as the practice of farming to feed families, but as a lucrative business and enviable profession.
This year’s celebration on the theme: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19 – Opportunities and Challenges”, reflects the important role of the agriculture sector to the economic development of the country and also re-emphasises its contribution to all the other sectors of the economy.
Last year, the awards organising committee introduced great ideas and innovation to make the award even more attractive and competitive and it is hoped that those innovations will be a permanent feature of the event.
For instance, the regional durbars begin today and that is great. Last year, the previous winners visited Morocco for an eye-opening session under the innovation of ‘International Exposure’.
It is expected that this will be sustained to expose the farmers to best practices and afford them the opportunity to share ideas with their international counterparts on best farming practices. Unfortunately, because of the outbreak of COVID-19, this aspect is yet to come off. Scholarship for the award winners was also another innovation worth sustaining. It is hopeful that the Scholarship Secretariat, the brainchild of the two innovations, will not discard the idea.
Best Farmer Award
The 2018 Best Farmer, Mr James Obeng Boateng, declined the two-bedroom prize and rather presented a proposal on how he would use the prize to expand his farm business in order to create more job opportunities for the jobless youth.
That was a new chapter that successive winners would have to leverage on, because having been able to reach the height of the National Best Farmer, a two-bedroom house should not be something that he/she cannot afford.
It is, therefore, a welcoming development, because expanding the business will not benefit only the winner as it is in the case of the two-bedroom house, but will become a source of livelihood for others and create employment for the youth in the community.
As we celebrate this unique occasion, the question is; who takes over from Mr Charles Gyamfi as the next Best Farmer?