President John Dramani Mahama on Friday said the government would turn around the agricultural sector to increase and improve incomes of farmers to step up production.
To achieve this, he said, government had acquired a 95-million-dollar financial facility to support all sectors of agriculture, fisheries and acquaculture to reduce import bills.
President Mahama said this when he addressed the 30th National Farmers’ Day at Sefwi-Wiawso in the Western Region on the theme: “Eat What You Grow.”
The programme was attended by award winners and previous winners, ministers of state, traditional authorities, religious leaders, farmers’ associations and members of the business community.
President Mahama said the facility would support farmers in machinery, inputs, extension services, vehicles and other support services to achieve their targets in the coming years.
He said Government was appreciative of the theme in view of the fact that it was doing everything possible to reduce importation of food that the country had comparative advantage in.
President Mahama said government would also educate farmers to adopt modern farming technologies by availing workable services that would scale-up production in the country.
He encouraged Ghanaians to take up farming as business, and not as a way of life, as it had been perceived in the past.
He announced that 150 million dollars had been set aside for the construction and improvement of feeder roads in cocoa-producing areas.
Mr Fifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture, congratulated farmers, especially those who picked awards at the celebration, for their hard work and gave the assurance that the government would ensure there was food sufficiency for both the country and for export.
He said Ghana spent over 1.5 billion dollars annually on the importation of food and, therefore, investment in the sector could ensure food sufficiency and job creation in the coming years.
Mr Kwetey said government would work closely with farmers by creating financial support for them to step up agribusiness.
He said Africa had the challenge of feeding the entire world in the coming decades because of the sufficient arable lands, adding that Ghana would take advantage of the opportunity to improve her lot.
Madam Hanny-Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Fisheries and Acquaculture, urged Ghanaians to invest in fisheries and acquaculture.
She said the Ministry would institute an award on acquaculture and urged corporate community to support it to achieve the feat in next year’s celebration.
Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, commended the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for choosing to organise the 2014 National Farmers’ Day in the Western Region.
He, however, appealed to government to construct feeder roads in the region considering the fact that it was a leading producer of both cash and food crops.
Mr George Asamoah Amankwa, a 49-year-old farmer, who emerged the 2014 Best Farmer, received 100,000 dollars to put up a house at his place of choice, while Nana Obeng Wiako III of Upper Denkyira and Mr Yaw Gyan from Wenchi, placed second and third respectively.
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