Today we once again celebrate our farmers and fishermen. Their toils continue to provide us with not only life-sustaining food on our dining tables but the critical foreign exchange which keep our economy alive and robust in a highly competitive international market.
Their importance notwithstanding, they do not attract a commensurate remuneration for their toils – their roles attracting only lip-services from those who decide the policy direction of the country.
Cocoa farmers in particular have suffered the pain of watching bad politicians squander selfishly the monies their backbreaking toils haul in. The so-called cocoa roads episode, conduits for the siphoning of monies which could have been expended expeditiously to support the farmers overcome their numerous challenges even as they undertake the backbreaking daily chores on their farms, remains one of the most insulting acts of irresponsibility by persons entrusted with managing the state kitty.
Today’s celebration of our farmers is significant for varied reasons. Being the first, since President Akufo-Addo took over the reins of power, it offers us an opportunity to assess his performance vis a vis the promises he made to the farmers when he was criss-crossing the country to tell farmers how different he would be from other politicians.
We are celebrating our farmers at a time when the flagship agenda of ‘One District One Dam’ and the other farmer friendly programmes are at the takeoff stage.
Although it is too early to do a thorough assessment, the positive signs cannot be ignored even as we are yet to observe the first anniversary of his government.
The free SHS which was operationalised recently stands tall as an unrivalled social intervention programme, its advantages having direct bearings on farmers. Monies which they could have used to pay for the fees of their children in senior high schools can now go into other equally important domestic expenses or even to expand their farms.
Farmers can today smile that a man has come to the helm who is obsessed with making good his promise of alleviating their tribulations in a medley of forms.
The 2018 budget statement surely reflects the important place government has for our farmers; the many footnotes therein evidencing this assertion. We have observed the efforts taken to insulate cocoa earnings from the vagaries of the international market by the President Akufo-Addo-led government.
The resuscitation of the moribund National Health Insurance Scheme is another critical intervention of the less-than-a-year in power government. Most of our farmers who live in, especially, the rural parts of the country find this gesture by government invaluable as it affords them the rare opportunity to access medical care for themselves and their dependents.
Ghanaian farmers have in the past been mere pawns in the dirty game of local politics. Politicians often go to them with beautiful stories about how they would take care of their interests, promises which turn out to be nothing but mendacious tales intended only to have them vote for them.
Even recently the bad politicians were at it again as they went to some cocoa producing areas to lie about the government. Such insults to the intelligence of the farmers are unacceptable because the promises made by Nana Akufo-Addo during his campaigns are being made good and these are verifiable.
As we celebrate our dear farmers, we entreat government to shield them against cantankerous politicians whose bad policies have retarded the progress of agriculture.
Government should consider more novelties in future to change of the Farmers’ Day so that those who do not win awards can nonetheless smile instead of wearing morose faces.
Ghanaian farmers and fishermen we salute you on this joyous day.