NATIONAL FARMERS’ DAY CELEBRATION 2015Education, Education News, News, Spotlight — December 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm Print This Post | Email This Post
MADAM BETTY NOI IS 2015 BEST FARMER IN LEKMA
The first Friday in December every year is a day set aside to honour farmers for feeding the citizenry and for their contribution to the economy. This year’s celebration took place on Friday December 4th, 2015. It was the 31st in Ghana and the 8th in the municipality. The theme for the occasion was, “Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”
This year’s Municipal celebration took place at the Teshie Northern Cluster of Schools-Teshie Gonno where a fish farmer, Madam Betty Noi was declared the overall best farmer of the municipality. The items she received as award include the following: GTP wax print, hamper, fishing net, twine, cutlass, aluminum bowl, a bundle of twine, rechargeable lamp, float, key soap, sash and a sword.
Reverend Samuel Ashidam was the chairman for the occasion. Dignitaries who graced the occasion include the Municipal Chief Executive- Hon. Seth Badu Tawiah, the Presiding Member-Hon. Patrick Noagbedzi, the Municipal Coordinating Director- Mrs. Moira Nancy Ewa, Madam Monica Opoku- Acting Municipal Director of Agriculture. Also in attendant were the Hon. Assembly Members, heads of institutions, departments and units in the municipality.
WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE AG. MUNICIPAL DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE
ON THE 31ST NATIONAL FARMERS’ DAY CELEBRATION
Municipal Coordinating Director,
Hon. Presiding Member,
Hon. Members of Parliament,
Hon. Assembly Members,
Nii Mei ke Naa Mei,
Heads of Department and Institutions,
Our Gallant and Dedicated Farmers and Fishers,
Ladies and Gentlemen
All other protocol observed
I am highly honoured to give a welcome address on this august occasion, and to appreciate the hard work of our dedicated Farmers, Fishers, Processors and Traders. One cannot imagine a nation without these groups. Such a nation would be filled with feeble and sick people. This means that the roles Farmers, Fishers, Processors and Traders play in ensuring food and nutrition security and socio-economic development cannot be overlooked.
In Ghana, agriculture provides employment to about 60% of the population. Our Municipality accounts for about 1%, and 4% of the total urban agriculture within Greater Accra Region. Despite that the absolute values are small; the impact of agriculture on livelihoods and our local economy is huge. Poverty alleviation, food and nutrition security can be improved to a large extent if we prioritize and invest intensively in agriculture. Apart from being a source of food, agriculture provides raw materials for the feed, pharmaceutical and fuel (energy) industries. Also, it is a source of foreign exchange through value addition for improved economic growth.
Hence the theme for this year’s celebration:
“Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”.
Mr. Chairman, having a growing urban population will require more food to feed them. However, the majority of our farmers are small-holders who use traditional methods such as hoes and cutlasses, and farm only a small portion of land (averagely 2 acres). They lack the financial capacity to adopt improved technologies that can help boost agricultural production, increase value addition for more income, and to commercialize their enterprises. Aside that, they feel unsecured by the abrupt ejection of land owners, and are therefore not encouraged investing in land they do not own.
Also, fishers continue to fish from the same source without adopting sustainable techniques.
Mr. Chairman, a less modernized agriculture, though it has a high economic potential, is unattractive to the youth, thereby rendering them unemployed. This has largely contributed to the unemployment situation we are facing today. Hence, there is a need for investment in agricultural projects and programmes. But how can this be done in an urbanized area like ours, where land for agricultural purposes is scarce? How do we preserve the few acres of land we have for production? How do we promote a modernized agriculture to improve the livelihoods of our people? These and many other questions I kept asking myself whilst I pondered on the theme.
Mr. Chairman, interestingly, about 70-80% of the food we consume in Ghana comes from smallholders who farm on subsistence basis and this is not different from what pertains in our Municipality. Therefore, we need to empower Smallholder Farmers, Fishers, Processors and Traders with financial support, access to land, improved technologies and practices, and adequate training.
The steps the Department of Agriculture has taken in the quest to address some of these challenges are to encourage the establishment of alternative sources of livelihood ventures, like grasscutter rearing, rabbit and mushroom production, and backyard gardening, and organize training programmes for the beneficiaries.
The Department also runs projects like the cockerel and LDP projects in which improved breeds of animals are given to farmers to increase their stock and have healthier animals. Also, subsidized fertilizers were given to farmers to increase production but are currently not forthcoming. To sustain these initiatives, increase opportunities and create synergy in development efforts, we need the involvement of Private Sector Institutions and Investors to fund agricultural projects and programmes in the Municipality. We need investment in Agro-processing, Aquaculture, and access to the export market, just to mention a few. We also need to invest in research activities and encourage research and extension linkages.
Mr. Chairman, I would end by saying that all stakeholders, both small and large companies and investors contribute by funding agricultural programmes to promote socio-economic growth in our Municipality.
It is heart-warming to see how our nation’s policy makers and private sector recognize the importance and the great potential of agriculture not just for feeding our nation, but also as a driver for economic growth and employment. Surely the present efforts will give major results. Still, the need for continuation and even increase of the efforts is clear, as the potential of the agricultural sector is truly huge.
On this note I welcome all our Gallant Farmers, Fishers, Processors and Traders, to the 31st National Farmers’ Day Celebration and the 8th edition in the Municipality.
I say “Ayekoo”.
SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MUNICIPAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF LEDZOKUKU-KROWOR MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY, HON. SETH BADU TAWIAH AT THE 31ST NATIONAL FARMERS’ DAY CELEBRATION HELD AT THE TESHIE NORTHERN CLUSTER OF SCHOOLS (GONNO SCHOOL PARK) ON FRIDAY, 4TH DECEMBER, 2015.
Nii Mei Ke Naa Mei,
Hon. Assembly Members Present,
Municipal Heads of Department
Zonal Council Members,
The Divisional Commander, Ghana Police Service, Kpeshie.
Our hardworking Farmers & Fishermen,
Friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure that we have all gathered here this morning to celebrate the bedrock of our national economy-Agriculture. I warmly welcome you all and I thank you for making time to be present at this 31st Farmers Day celebration.
Mr. Chairman, this event acknowledges the vital position farmers and fishermen occupy in the nations socio-economic development. These Farmers and fishermen put forth untiring effort at feeding our growing population, providing raw materials to the nation’s industries and contributing substantially to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. Sadly, the agricultural sector which used to be the largest contributor of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has gradually declined. This fact implies that we all have to buckle-up and support our agricultural sector to reverse the trend. It is therefore very appropriate that the theme for this years’ celebration is “Transform Ghana: Invest in Agriculture”.
Nii Mei Ke Naa Mei. Indeed, I am convinced that we can all play key roles in investing in agriculture in our own small ways. This is because we do have the enabling environment to do so, for example research has shown that 57% of Ghana’s total land area is suitable for agricultural purposes. Greater Accra is part of the regions classified as a coastal savannah agricultural zone. There is therefore no reason for us not to invest in agriculture. Hence we in Greater Accra can invest in agriculture by cultivating rice, maize, cassava, vegetables, sugar cane, mangoes and coconut as well as livestock. Sweet Potato and Soya beans are also viable to in this zone under irrigation. There are also water resources such as streams and lagoons that present opportunities for fish farming or aquaculture. It is noteworthy that socio-economic growth can be realized when food is locally produced and traded in both the domestic and international markets to earn more foreign currency.
Ladies and Gentlemen. I believe it is for this reason that the Government of Ghana has proven without a doubt that it recognizes the important role agriculture plays in our economy. It is in line with this that the Government through the Ministry of Food & Agriculture has implemented a number of projects and programmes to facilitate agriculture and agribusiness in the country. One such project is the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) which is a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement for the provision of infrastructure for SADA (Savanna Accelerated Development Authority).
Mr. Chairman, it is worth noting that the project seeks to manage climate change to provide opportunities for poor peasants, especially women in economic distress to own assets and also to sustain their food crop production. The Export Marketing Quality Assurance Project (EMQAP) has constructed a pack house in the Volta Region to boost horticulture exports. With these projects and other interventions from Government, I am of the view that it should make it less enticing for people to import cheap food items as our farmers would be able to produce better ones here in Ghana.
Mr. Chairman, Nii Mei ke Naa Mei, I think in order for our theme for this great day to become a reality, we need to preserve our farming lands by introducing and enforcing land use policy just like our neighboring country Ivory Coast has done which has contributed to their accelerated economic growth in recent times. Our waterlogged areas could be demarcated for aquaculture purposes and not for building construction which is risky because of the possibility of flooding and thereby putting human life in danger.
Distinguished Guests, the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) has been interested in agriculture development and in line with this has supported the Department of Agriculture with a number of projects which have profited many farmers and fishermen in the Municipality. Over the past years, a total of 216 farmers in LEKMA have benefited from the Livestock Development Project, whereby the farmers were given improved breeds of Cockerels and Broilers which have in turn increased their stock by over 100%. A Poultry project consisting of a number birds is being undertaken by LEKMA. The project seeks to train poultry farmers on good poultry rearing practices. The Assembly has also been funding the Department of Agriculture to carry out its agriculture activities over the years. This year, a total of 1,248 dogs and cats have been vaccinated against rabbies. The Department is about to embark on vaccination of sheep and goats against diseases to prevent infections and also to ensure that farmers reap the full benefits of their hard work. Furthermore, a meat shop has been constructed at the Teshie market to aid in the sale and consumption of wholesome meat to the public.
Ladies and Gentlemen, government recognizes the immense help our fisher folks derive from the use of premix fuel for their outboard motors. In order to ensure the regular supply of the commodity, the Management of LEKMA in collaboration with the Teshie and Nungua Traditional Councils has streamlined the operations and activities of the various Landing Beach Committees (LBCs). This we believe would go a long way to ensure transparency in the sector and also reduce the seeming frustrations some fishermen go through in getting the fuel.
There is strong demand for innovation and entrepreneurship, which is an exciting challenge for our farmers and fishermen. With the necessary support and guidance from all of us, they will be able to create a better future for themselves, their children, and to transform Ghana as a whole.
Ladies and Gentlemen, before I resume my seat, I want to use this opportunity to congratulate all farmers and fishermen who have made it possible for us to be alive as a result of the invaluable services they provide to us daily. A wise man once said “Man can only think after eating”. We know without you, our existence would certainly be a challenge.
Congratulations to all the award winners and let it motivate you to do more. See these awards as not for you only, but as a collective achievement for all farmers and fishermen in the country.
Ayekoo to all of you.