General News of Friday, 4 December 2015
The government says it remains focused in transforming the agricultural sector to make it central to the country’s economy in a bid to drive development.
At this year’s Greater Accra Regional Farmers’ Day celebration in Kpong, Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur announced several interventions being undertaking by the government to achieve that feat.
The day is celebrated annually on the first Friday of December and seeks to motivate and reward deserving farmers and fishermen for their contribution to the country’s development through the provision of food.
This year’s celebration which will award more than 2,000 Ghanaian farmers and fishermen is on the theme: “Transform Ghana: Investing in Agriculture.”
Speaking at the event, the Vice President said the government acknowledges the challenges being faced by the country’s farmers and fishermen and its implications on the agric sector, hence the resolve to transform the sector with various programmes and interventions
Mr Amaissah-Arthur said the government would distribute 500 tractors to farmers within the first half of 2016 and provide fishermen with 3,000 outboard motors aside various farm implements and technology to be introduced to farmers.
“In the first half of 2016, we expect to take delivery of 500 additional tractors and implements… We are facilitating the acquisition and distribution of 3,000 outboard motors for fishermen following the distribution of 1,622 since 2010,” he said.
The Vice President also said government will within the next five years, invest GH¢3 billion in the construction of roads in cocoa-growing regions, which have become a major headache of farmers in remote arrears.
The roads, he noted, will not only help in transporting farm produce to the various market centres but help reduce post-harvest losses and offer farmers convenience, comfort and more safety on roads.
“For all their toil and sacrifice, we believe that our farmers deserve more and we are giving them more to spur them on to do even better,” he stated.
Again, he noted government has already made available GH¢120 million to the rice, shea, cashew and agro-processing sub-sectors to boost production
Aside the completion of modern cold stores at Prampram, Nyanyano, Shama, Sekondi-Takoradi, Half Assini and Kormantse, he said six landing sites with modern facilities including cold stores, market stalls and children’s nurseries at Mumford, James Town, Teshie, Anloga, Tapa-Abotoase and Dzemeni are nearing completion stage, adding “additional 25 landing sites are also in the planning stages”.
“We are doing these with the conviction that the agricultural sector has great potential that will require partnership with a private sector prepared to take advantage of the investment climate we are creating for the mutually beneficial enterprise,” Mr Amissah-Arthur indicated.
He said despite the significant post-harvest losses, the rate of return from investing in agriculture is higher than that of trading and commerce, but wondered why many people prefer to invest in trade and commerce, adding “This mind-set must change”
Meanwhile, he has congratulated all the award winners across the country for their hard work and toil, which, he said, has ensured food security in the country.