The hon. MCE for the West Gonja municipal assembly, Saeed Muhazu Jibreel said Nana akufo-addo’s quest to promote agribusiness in the country has come at the right time because farmers in the area still do not get the needed revenue from their labour.
The MCE said this during the 36th farmers day celebration at Damongo, the Savannah regional capital on Friday 6th November, 2020.
The farmers day was celebrated with the theme “Ensuring Agribusiness Development Under Covid-19 – Opportunities and Challenges”.
Mr Muhazu Jibreel in an address said ‘ Ghana’s agriculture is transitioning from subsistence and primary production to agribusiness levels. This will boost investment in the agriculture sector, create jobs, expand markets, and ensure the competition of goods and services for agriculture. This policy by the government to boost Agribusiness in the country is in the right direction’, he added.
Mr Muhazu Jibreel explained that achieving total food security continues to be a mirage for most developing nations including Ghana. ” It is against this background that the progressive NPP government introduced the planting for food and jobs, rearing for food and jobs, planting for export and rural development to, produce more food to meet the demands of the people in the municipality and the nation at large.
Our gallant farmers play critical role in ensuring food security for the nation’s growing population as well as contributing greatly to the export sector of the economy. This is highly commendable”.
Therefore, it is worth celebrating the Farmer’s day in recognition of the valuable contributions of our farmers and fishermen and indeed all those along the value chain to national development.
The nation recorded her first covid-19 case in March 2020 and since then Ghana is living in the new normal.
The MCE explained that the lesson of Covid-19 has created a new sense of awareness about building strong food systems that ensures resilience and over dependence on food imports. At the inception of the pandemic, the panic that disrupted economic activities tested Ghana’s resilience and food security vulnerability. Ghana’s ability to respond to the challenges has undoubtedly vindicated the current priority placed on agriculture, he stated.
The Covid-19 relief fund played a major boosting role for individuals, traders, businesses and farmers alike.
The former assistant headmaster of NDESCO said to reduce the adverse impact of covid-19 pandemic on Ghanaian businesses and individuals, the government of Ghana introduce the Coronavirus Alleviation Program (CAP) managed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries ( NBSSI). The CAP BuSS was launched on May 19, 2020, by the president Nana akufo-addo.
As a result the president release GHC750M to NBSSI, now the Ghana Enterprise Agency, to support people whose businesses were affected by the covenant, in all applications were done online and about 5,124 people applied in the savanna region. An amount of GHc4, 371, 615.00 has been disbursed with West Gonja municipal assembly receiving the highest value in the region of GHc1, 504, 745.
The total number of people who benefited from the fund in the municipality are 1,706 people
The MCE lamented that despite the successes chalked in the agriculture sector, the following challenges need to be overcome if agriculture was to contribute meaningfully to the economic growth of the country in future. To him the nation needs to put a stop to environmental degradation practices such as bush burning, illegal logging, charcoal burning and others. We also need to prevent soil and land misuse; soil erosion, continuous cropping at a particular land for a long time and keeping best agricultural practices in general.
To improve the welfare of farmers, the MCE believes that farmers should use high yielding short duration of seeds for good yield. They also need to reduce post-harvest losses, use of more organic fertilizers, increase productivity and production to meet domestic and international demands. We must add value to all farm produce to get the needed economic growth. When these are done, farmers can get the real value for their labour.
He also urged the Farmers to come together and formed farmer based organisations so that they’re not going can get the needed financial support from the banks. We need to diversify from annual crops to cash crops like cashew, mango and Shea nut and the youth must try to venture into agriculture in order to increase our nutritional value such as protein
Farmers should also cultivate the habit of rearing improved breeds of livestock to support their socio-economic needs. Through all these if there is abundance of food and meat government will also explore the surplus for foreign exchange
He commended the contribution of NGOs and other stakeholders for supporting the agricultural sector in diverse ways in the municipality. Available data gives credence to the commitment of these organisations to the development and empowerment of the people in the West Gonja municipal assembly.
The Deputy Chief of Staff and NPP Parliamentary candidate, Lawyer Samuel Abu Jinapor, who passed through the program said when the people of Damongo constituency offer him the chance to become their next MP, he will launch the “Damongo Constituency Agriculture Empowerment program ” in 2021. He explained that the program will see each electoral area having at least a tractor to help the people in their farming related activities and will as well provide other farming equipment that will aid farmers.
Abu Jinapor sought permission and left to attend a funeral in the Upper West region of Ghana.
Mr Peter Clava, the municipal director for Department of Agriculture expressed gratitude to all the gallant farmers and partners for their efforts towards improving the nation’s food security.
He said the sector is faced with the following challenges that hinders it’s smooth growth.
Difficulty in carrying out extension activities in the area, increase cost of production, high cost of foodstuffs due to restrictions on movement of goods from one location to the other.
Despite the challenges the sector is faced with, there are glorious opportunities for all.
There are available vast land suitable for arable crop and livestock production, available and viable youth to provide human capital for agribusiness enterprises in the area, the closure of the boarders reduces importation of food and other essential items; an opportunity for Ghana to depend on its own food resources produced by our gallant farmers.
As a country if we harnessed the opportunities and the potentials available well, we can produce enough food and meat products to feed the nation and even export for foreign exchange.
A 42 year old teacher Yakubu Ayuba, won the best Municipal farmer award, whiles
Edmond Batabana, was the first (1st) runner up and Sulemana Dari as the 2nd runner up. The Best Woman farmer was awarded to madam Mary Wemin.
The program was attended by heads of departments, security agencies, hon assembly members, traditional and religious leaders, students and the general public.
Source: Padfmonline/Abdulai Zulkaninu