Celebrating our indefatigable farmers, as we are doing today, is a duty we must undertake because the role they play in our lives is unlike any other. Even more remarkable is the fact that for a long time they have not received what is commensurate with their labour yet we benefit from the fruits of their labor in multifaceted forms.
We have come a long way since independence – a period during which the appropriate recognition for this critical segment of our population should have sufficiently been offered it.
We are relieved that today things are changing and farmers can comfortably express gratitude to the new political administration whose policies relevant to their needs, stand apart from previous dispensations.
The ‘One District One Dam’ and other interventions are geared towards changing the face of farming because they are sine qua non in our lives as a nation and a world.
The scarce foreign exchange we use to import rice, poultry and other agriculture based products could be used for alternative items such as medicines and others, had we provided farmers with the necessary support to modernize their methods.
This year, although the statistics are not yet available, there has been a significant harvest of farm produce such as plantain, tubers such as yam and legumes to the extent that some of these are being exported to neighbouring countries.
When our farmers are given the necessary push through good policies and sincere commitment as we are beginning to see, food security would be assured in this country.
Indeed a little over a month ago, some farmers in the Atebubu area of the Brong Ahafo Region complained about the economic effect of the glut of their produce on the market. With bumper harvest, the massive supplies of the tubers forced a downward spiral of prices. It is our hope that our research institutions would be encouraged to consider innovations which would complement the role of the new agriculture based factories planned for the country. This way, farmers would be assured of stable and economic prices.
It is our hope that next year around this time, we would be commenting about how farmers are no longer waiting on rain-fed agriculture but rather how the full-fledged ‘One District One Dam’ concept has revolutionized their work.
We call on policymakers to work towards an effective interface between the managers of the dams and local farmers. The peasant farmers have served us for countless years and so to marginalize them when modern agriculture eventually takes hold would be unfair. We therefore ask that an increased extensive service for them and their incorporation into the dam system be considered as a matter of necessity.
We have witnessed the strides being chalked by the Agriculture Ministry and indeed COCOBOD and the resultant positive effects in food production and export of the golden beans. The effects of the varied interventions in cocoa production has increased yield close to the record harvest during the regime of former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
We are excited that in the area of meat production, innovations have been planned to give impetus to those who want to go into that area. The ranching concept which has been mooted would go a long way in ensuring grazing security for cattle. The nasty clashes between cattle herdsmen and food and cash crop farmers are still fresh in our memories. We therefore salute government for the ranching concept.
Farmers, enjoy the day and remember we stand shoulder to shoulder with you as is the President of the Republic.