President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the 2018 National Farmers’ Day celebration in the Northern
President Akufo-Addo has lambasted the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) for not paying attention to the agriculture sector of the country.
According to him, Ghana’s agriculture sector was in a state of decline when he assumed office.
The president disclosed this at the 2018 National Farmers’ Day celebration in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, where a 60-year-old farmer, James Obeng Boateng, from Brong Ahafo Region, was adjudged this year’s National Best Farmer.
Mr. Boateng from the Nkoranza South District, who was presented with a cheque of GH¢480,000, has been producing cassava, cocoyam, cereals, okro, pepper, garden eggs, mango and cashew for the past 18 years.
The father of six also rears cattle, goats, sheep, and manages two fish ponds and 100 boxes of beehives.
This year’s award is a remarkable improvement over the first edition in 1985 during which the winner took home cutlasses.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that the agric sector recorded a growth rate of 0.8% in 2011 – one of the lowest in recent times.
“It improved to 3.1% in 2016; this growth was a reflection of lack of prioritization and support for the agriculture sector by the previous government.”
President Akufo-Addo disclosed that the NDC’s neglect of the agriculture sector resulted in low farm yields, high post-harvest losses, low level of mechanization, poor maintenance and low number of extension officers across the country.
He indicated that the transformation of agriculture would require investment in critical areas of the agriculture sector, adding that government is doing everything possible to put agriculture on the path of growth.
He further revealed that farmers had increased their yields through government’s flagship ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.
The President said Ghana is currently exporting food to Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire due to the implementation of the policy by government.
About 142 graduates, according to the president, have been trained in greenhouse vegetable cultivation using modern technology.
President Akufo-Addo also maintained that apart from the 142 trainees, 60 others are undergoing training in the same field in Israel.
As part of efforts to increase the number of extension officers to assist farmers, he said that government had provided 216 pickups and 3,000 motorbikes to extension officers and district directors of agriculture.
He said government had strategically constructed feeder roads to make farming communities accessible to enhance the transportation of farm produce to the markets.
According to the President, government is on course to improve the living standard of farmers and fisher folks.
“All plans by government will be aggressively pursued to the letter in the coming years; we are stopping at nothing to improve the lives of our gallant farmers,” the President said.
The first runner-up, Charity Akotia, from Agona West in the Central Region, took home a tractor while the second runner-up, Alex Frimpong, won a Nissan Pickup provided by Stanbic Bank.
The Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank, Alhaji Alhassan Andani, who presented the vehicle to the second runner-up, encouraged him to work hard to win the ultimate next year.
He also appealed to government to establish a plant to process sheanuts in the Northern Region to improve the incomes of the farmers.
The 34th National Farmers’ Day was held on the theme: “Agriculture: Moving Ghana Beyond Aid.”