Dr. Afriyie Akoto Owusu
Agriculture is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy and is the major source of employment.
It is estimated that over half of the population is engaged in agriculture.
After independence in 1957, Ghana had one of the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Africa.
The new Ghana was well endowed with proceeds from previous economic booms led by agriculture.
Strong economic prominence could not be maintained.
However, in subsequent years, real per capita incomes stagnated or even fell, leading to the adoption of the Economic Reform Programmes in the late 1970s and 1980s.
With lessons from the past policy failures in mind, the Government of President Akufo-Addo launched the transformational “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) in April 2017.
The five modules of PFJ are being rolled out in the course of time.
The April 2017 launch covered food security with emphasis on food crops.
Since then, two more modules have been launched by Mr. Akufo-Addo.
These are Planting for Export (PERD) launched in Dunkwa in March 2019 and Rearing for Food and Jobs in Wa in June 2019.
Two other modules under the PFJ are: Mechanising for Food and Jobs and Greenhouse Villages.
All five modules have been purposely designed and tailored for specific needs to facilitate the transformation of Ghana’s agriculture.
With the sweeping enthusiasm demonstrated by Ghanaian farmers for Planting for Food and Jobs, the agriculture sector in Ghana has begun to explore its economic potential through diversification in production and investment in non-traditional crops for maximum economic benefit.
The National Farmers’ Day this year, therefore, offers a unique opportunity for a collective assessment of the performance and impact on the citizenry and the economy.
It also provides the opportunity to identify key constraints that persist in the sector in order to take measures to enhance further the productivity gains so far achieved under the initiative of this Government.
It is in view of the foregoing that the 35th National Farmers’ Day is focused on the theme: ‘Enhancing Small scale Agriculture towards Agribusiness Development.
The agricultural sector in Ghana has assumed a new dimension under the administration of Mr. Akufo-Addo.
The vision of the President to transform agriculture has been eloquently articulated and given expression in plans, policies, programmes and strategies formulated and designed to achieve the desired objective of transformation.
These positive results have reinforced the President’s unwavering conviction that agriculture holds the key to Ghana’s economic transformation.
Historical Background Of National Farmers’ Day
The National Farmers’ Day was instituted by the Government of Ghana in 1985 in recognition of the vital role farmers and fishers play in the Ghanaian economy.
This was to emphasize the highly commendable output of farmers and fishers in 1984 (about 30% growth registered), after the bad agricultural years of 1982 and 1983 i.e. when the bushfires ravaged most of our farmlands.
This day is celebrated on the first Friday of December every year to motivate hardworking farmers and fishers to produce more.
The celebration of the national Farmers’ Day therefore, offers a unique opportunity for a collective assessment of the impact of the farmers and fishers on the National economy.
It is also provides the opportunity to identify key problems in the sector and most importantly those that affect the welfare of farmers, thus facilitating the determination of the way forward.
Under the administration of Mr. Akufo-Addo, The National Farmers’ Day assumed a new dimension in accordance with his vision to transform Agriculture .
Major Changes to National Farmers’ Day Celebration since 2017
The mode of celebration for National Farmers’ Day at the National Level hitherto spanned a period of one-week the one-day celebration at the National level was cancelled and replaced with an 8-Day Agricultural Fair.
The essence of the 8-Day Agricultural Fair is to give opportunity to Award Winners and the good people of Ghana to see and learn new technologies, machinery, research innovations and improvements and processing of agricultural products by the various stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
In addition, the 8-Day Agricultural Fair offered a business platform for the various stakeholders in and outside the sector to link-up and form partnerships which will inure to the overall benefit of the nation.
The 8-Day Agricultural Fair focused on the various “Regional Days” created a platform for each region in Ghana to showcase its culture and agricultural commodities dominant in the region.
National Farmers’ Forum was maintained because of its significance to the celebration.
The innovation was that, during the one week of exhibition/ fair all the stakeholders along the agricultural value chain had the opportunity to interact, network and learn from each other, and at the same time introduce elements of cultural displays.
This was achieved by dedicating one (1) day to two regions, during which they displayed their wares and cultural shows.
Awards for all regional winners are also presented at the National level during
The status quo of organizing District Level Farmers’ Day remained unchanged but the award prizes were enhanced as a result of the savings made by cancelling the celebrations at the regional level.
Institution of Scholarship Scheme
At the 34th National Farmers Day held at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale on Friday, December 8, 2018, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, making what he described as “a very important announcement”, said the government had added to the national awards package for farmers and fisher folk 24 scholarships for Award Winners and their wards.
The scholarships are ranging from first degree to PhD, in any agricultural subject of their choice.
This gesture is a further testimony of the government’s commitment to make agriculture attractive to all, especially the youth and would help modernize farming in the country and drive economic growth.
Previously, there were Seventy-Eight (78) Award Categories at the National Level. These were reduced to a total of Seventeen (17) for the National Farmers” Day Celebration in 2017. The rationale behind the reduction in the award categories is to save money in order to enhance the values of the prizes awarded to our gallant farmers.
Award Categories for the 35th National Farmers’ Day -2019
National Best Farmer
National Best Livestock Farmer
National Best Crop Farmer
National Best Youth Farmer
National Best Female Farmer
National Best Physically Challenged Farmer
National Best Second Cycle School In Practical Agriculture
First Runner Up National Best Farmer
Second Runner Up National Best Farmer
National Best Agro Processor
National Best Tree Crop Farmer
National Best Fisher
National Best Maize Quality Farmer
National Best Digital Farmer
National Best Inland Fisher
National Best Marine Fisher
National Best Acquaculturist
National Best Fish Processor
National Best Cocoa Farmer
National Best Shea Nut Picker
National Best Coffee Farmer
National Best Most Enterprising Female Cocoa Farmer
National Best Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer
National Best Agriculture Researcher
Regional Best Farmer
First Runner Up Regional Best Farmer
Second Runner Up Regional Best Farmer
Regional Best Fisher
Regional Best Agric Extension Agent
District Best Farmer
First Runner Up District Best Farmer
District Crop Farmer
District Best Fish Farmer
District Best Livestock Farmer
District Agriculture Extension Agent
District Physically Challenged