Business News of Monday, 4 December 2017
The government’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme directly employed 3,997 farmers in the Wa East District in the Upper West Region in 2017.
These beneficiary farmers produced various quantities of food crops from 4,847 hectares of farmland to contribute to the national food supply for the year.
The Chief Executive for the district, Moses Jotie, said the programme – which was boosted by the supply of subsidised fertiliser to farmers – had been embraced by young farmers as an employment and serious income-generating source in the district.
Addressing farmers and a cross section of society at the district’s Farmers Day event at Loggu, Mr Jotie said government’s supply of warehousing facilities in the various districts had saved farmers from the annual ritual of post-harvest losses.
He said while the inadequacy and sometimes unavailability of warehouses cost farmers their expected income due to post-harvest losses, the warehouse and the receipt system introduced by the National Buffer Stock Company had proven to be an important intervention.
“The system affords farmers the opportunity to store their produce in licensed warehouses after which a receipt is issued. The receipt can then be used as basis for securing a loan from a bank. Farmers can also sell their produce at a convenient date to retain a decent return on investment,” he explained.
“This, therefore, reduces exploitation of our farmers by middlemen who buy the produce at very low prices,” he added.
He, however, lamented the negative impact of human activities, including logging and bush burning, which were fast depleting the region’s vegetation cover, and said his office would establish and maintain mango and woodlot plantations in selected communities to mitigate the situation.
There was an exhibition of different farm produce and livestock at the event, which had traditional rulers and vaious groups in attendance.
The event, which celebrates farmers across the country, was held at the national level in Kumasi without the usual corresponding events at the regional level.
In the Upper West Region, the district assemblies held individual events to honour local farmers.
A 40-Year-old farmer from Kuntanase, Mr Kwadwo Antwi-Agyei, was adjudged the Overall Best Farmer at the 33rd Farmers Day celebration at Jachie in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region, Felix A. Baidoo reports from Jachie.
He took home a tricycle, some cutlasses, two knapsack sprayers, a wheelbarrow, wellington boots, a piece of cloth, a 40-inch flat screen television and a radio set, among others. Nine other farmers, including a disabled woman, were also honoured as they took home cutlasses, wellington boots, radio sets, pieces of cloth, wheelbarrows and other souvenirs.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Bosomtwe, Mr Joseph Kwasi Asuming, lauded the award winners and other farmers for continuously working very hard to feed the nation, as well as helping to improve the nation’s foreign exchange earnings through the cultivation of various crops.
He said the agricultural sector would continue to play a very crucial role in the nation’s development since it covered over 60 per cent of the nation’s labour force in one way or the other.
The DCE stated that the importance the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government attached to the development of agriculture were among the reasons that led to the establishment of the flagship programme dubbed, “Planting for Food and Jobs.”
Mr Asuming explained that the government had voted huge sums of money into funding various initiatives, all geared towards empowering the agricultural sector so that many youth would be employed, making food readily available at reduced costs and enhancing agro-processing in the country.
He revealed that as part of the nation’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, the Bosomtwe District cultivated 700 acres of land through the planting of rice, maize and vegetables as it engaged 515 farmers, comprising 437 males and 78 females, who benefited from subsidised fertilisers and planting seeds.
The Station Officer of the Kuntanase office of the Ghana National Service, Mr Samuel Ampofo, announced that the formation of community fire volunteer groups played a key role in the fight against the rampant burning of foodstuffs and farmlands during the dry season.
He appealed to the communities to form such volunteer groups in their communities to control the rampant burning of farmland, foodstuffs and other property and in some cases human beings.
The fire officer appealed to the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to engage the services of the National Fire Service in all their agricultural initiatives so they could help reduce property and post-harvest losses through fire.
From Odumasi in the Prestea-Huni-Valley District, Akwasi Ampratwum-Mensah reports that out of the total number of 20 shortlisted farmers, 36-year-old John Ennimil from Huni-Valley, was adjudged the Overall Best District Farmer.
Mr Seth Mensah from Amoanda placed second, while Mr John Tawiah, also from Amoanda, was third.
At the ceremony, Mr Mozart Kweku Owuh urged Nananom in the area to support the government’s flagship policy of one-district, one-factory policy by releasing parcels of land for the purpose since access to land in many areas had been a hindrance to many development projects.