General News of Monday, 4 December 2017
Cotton farmers in the country are unhappy with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for not recognizing the contribution of cotton farmers at this year’s National Farmers Day awards .
According to the disgruntled cotton farmers, the ministry’s failure to recognise them clearly shows the importance the sector ministry places on the cotton industry.
The group also blamed Members of Parliament (MPs) from cotton growing areas in the country for not showing concern about the discrimination against cotton farmers.
Speaking in an interview with Graphic Online, the immediate past President of the Masara N’arziki Farmers Association, an association for cotton farmers in Northern Region, Mr Amos Jejite Latib Mbamonbe, said cotton farmers are important just as cashew, coffee and cocoa farmers.
He said it was unfair that cashew, coffee, and cocoa farmers are recognised during the national, regional and district awards but cotton farmers are sidelined at all levels of the awards.
He said cotton farming is a major agricultural activity in the three regions of the north, including Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions.
Mr Mbamonbe said the association so far has over 40,000 membership and questioned why an industry with such huge potential has been denied a category in the national awards for far too long.
He has, therefore, threatened that the association and its members would have no other option than to stage a demonstration against all relevant stakeholders, particularly MoFA if they are sidelined again in the awards.
He said besides the cotton industry generating huge foreign exchange for the country, seeds from the plants are used in extracting edible oil with its husks also being used to feed livestock.
Mr Mbamonbe said government’s vision of promoting Ghanaian fabrics could be realised only if the cotton farmers are taken serious.
He said the association needs a category in the national farmers’ day awards at the district, regional and national levels for its members.
“The cotton farmer should also be motivated so that so many people will be interested in cotton production”, he said, adding “cotton is one of the cash crops in northern Ghana”.
Mr Mbamonbe also blamed the Cotton Development Authority, an authority under MoFA that speaks for the sector for failing to promote the interest of cotton farmers.
He said cotton farmers must be recognised by the ministry, explaining that cotton farmers played a key role in the sustenance of the textile industry besides contributing to the GDP.