The 38th edition of the National Farmers Day has been launched in Accra to reward farmers for their hard work and commitment to ensure food sufficiency in the country over the year.
The event, which will be held in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, on December 2, 2022, is on the theme: “Accelerating agricultural development through value addition”.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who launched the day in Accra last Friday, said “we need to commend our farmers for standing with us to produce food in very difficult global circumstances”.
Dr Akoto said farmers deserved commendation and encouragement, particularly over the last two years when the country performed well in the agricultural sector in the midst of difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the sector stood tall as a result of the support given to farmers by the government and described the performance of farmers as “extraordinary”, compared to other sectors, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
According to him, there was a significant growth of 8.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the sector last year, as against 7.4 per cent in 2020 and 4.5 per cent in 2019.
He said since the introduction of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, the government had invested about GH¢2.6 billion to subsidise improved seeds and fertiliser.
According to him, the programme led to the cultivation of GH¢50 billion worth of farm produce, about 14,973,000 tonnes.
The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mavis Hawa Koomson, in a speech read on her behalf, said the concept of value addition in agriculture, especially in fisheries and aquaculture, would lead to additional revenue generation, job creation, foreign exchange earnings and effective post-harvest management.
According to her, in 2021, fish production stood at 628,617 tonnes, amounting to about GH¢11.04 billion, contributing about 1.04 per cent to GDP, adding: “I am sure that if there had been value addition, the revenue would have been more.”
Ms Koomson said her outfit had taken some measures to improve value addition and mentioned, for instance, the building of the capacity of actors in the fish value chain to ensure the production of safe and quality fish products.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, expressed appreciation to the National Planning Committee for selecting his region to host the event.
He gave an assurance that “this year’s celebration will be one of the greatest ever held, if not the best”.
The Chairman of the National Planning Committee, Yaw Frimpong Addo, said in the entire 38-year history of the celebration, the private sector had contributed significantly.
Mr Addo, who is a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, entreated the private sector to, as usual, “come to the table with their sponsorship package”.