The annual celebration of National Farmers Day is here with us.
The event is the biggest statutory obligation that provides the platform to celebrate Ghanaian farmers and fishers for their contribution to the economy.
This event is not just about awards, but a celebration of the entire agriculture and fishing community, from innovative farming techniques to sustainable practices in fishing.
The overwhelming consensus around the celebrations attests to the nation’s profound appreciation of the role and contribution of farmers to national development.
It is important to keep reminding ourselves that farmers and fishers are indeed indispensable in the national economic fortunes.
It is hard to imagine our fate without farmers and fishers.
Sustainable agric practices
This year’s National Farmers Day celebration, therefore, provides us with an opportunity to highlight the importance of sustainable agriculture practices, celebrate the contributions of farmers, and reflect on the positives, as well as challenges currently impacting the well-being of farmers and the agriculture sector in general.
The logical response of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the leadership of the current Minister, Dr Bryan Acheampong, has been to undertake a diagnosis of the sector.
This action has given a full understanding and appreciation of issues that have informed the appropriate course of action for tackling the problems identified, and for enhancing the implementation of interventions.
Given the above, the Planting for Food and Jobs Phase II (PFJ 2.0) programme was launched in the Northern Region by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in October 2023.
This provides an innovative and comprehensive approach building on the successes of the initial/first PFJ campaign.
It takes a holistic view of the value chain approach by focusing on strengthening linkages among actors along selected agricultural commodity value chains and improving service delivery to maximise impact.
The programme substitutes direct input subsidy with smart agricultural financial support in the form of comprehensive input credit with provision for in-kind repayment.
The theme for this year’s Farmers Day celebration, is ‘Delivering smart solutions for sustainable food security and resilience”.
This is appropriate and relevant to achieving food security in Ghana within the context of an increase in population growth and its accompanying food system issues.
Ghana, like many developing countries, faces challenges in ensuring sustainable food security.
The country has to grapple with low agricultural productivity, limited market access, and a changing climate.
As a result, it is critical to identify and deliver smart solutions that can enhance the resilience of the food system and ensure sustainable food security.
The National Farmers Day at the national level in many years was celebrated in a day, this was, however revised to a five-day agricultural fair and a grand durbar.
The essence was to allow farmers to network with industry players and learn and adopt new technologies, machinery, and research innovations in agriculture.
The fair also offered a business platform for various stakeholders to link up and form partnerships that would ensure the overall benefit of their farm enterprises.
The year’s celebration would as usual be preceded by a five-day national agricultural festival dubbed, Agrifest Ghana 2023, which is slated for Monday, November 27 to Friday, December 1, 2023.
Agrifest Ghana 2023 is expected to be held on the principal streets of the ministerial enclave in Accra.
The last day of Agrifest, which marks the first Friday of December, will be celebrated with an awards night ceremony at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), auditorium, where the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, will confer national honours on best-performing farmers and fishers.
A total of 15 award categories will receive recognition at the awards night in Tarkwa.
These are the Overall National Best Farmer, the 1st and 2nd runners-up National Best Farmers, 12 others including the National Best Livestock Farmer, National Best Female Farmer, the National Best Physically Challenged Farmer, the Overall National Best Fisher, the National Best Marine Fisher and the National Best Inland Fisher.
The rest are the National Best Fisher Farmer, the National Best Fish Processor, the National Best Cocoa Farmer, the National Best Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer, the National Best Most Enterprising Cocoa and the Female Farmer and National Best Shea Nut Picker.
At the regional level, the Regional Farmers Day celebration will continue to be held in all sixteen (16) regions. Accordingly, regional ministers will confer regional honours on the best-performing farmers in their region on behalf of His Excellency, the President.
There would be five regional award categories per region, namely: The Regional Best Farmer, Regional Best Livestock Farmer, Regional Best Female Farmer, Regional Best Fisher, and Regional Physically Challenged Farmer.
The district-level celebrations are expected to be held in the 261 districts and will cover three categories per district, namely: District Best Farmer, District Best Livestock Farmer and District Best Crop Farmer.
The writer is the Head of PR,
Ministry of Food and Agriculture