President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that government will commence processes to construct 192 small dams in various selected districts of the country from 2018.
He explained that the 192 is part of a total of 320 small dams and dug-outs planned to be constructed in 64 districts in northern Ghana as part of the government’s ‘One Village, One Dam’ project.
The President made the announcement at the 2017 National Farmers’ Day celebration in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region on Friday.
President Akufo-Addo stated that government was focusing on agricultural modernisation and improved production efficiency to achieve food security.
Agricultural mechanisation centres
In line with this, he said two agricultural mechanisation centres had been established in the Eastern and Volta regions, to give technical support to smallholder farmers, enhance farming practices, and boost agro-processing.
Cocoa roads to be re-constructed
He indicated that under the Ghana Infrastructure Fund, significant percentage of cocoa roads would also be re-constructed.
The President said his government’s policies and interventions were meant to increase crop production and returns to the farmer – to make things better for them.
He lamented the significant decline of the agriculture sector’s contribution to the Gross National Product (GDP) over the last decade – down to 18.5 per cent from 42 per cent – and said this could not continue.
He added that factors responsible for the decline, including post-harvest losses, insufficient financing, land tenure issues and outmoded farming practices, were being addressed.
President Akufo-Addo spoke of the supply of inputs – quality planting materials, fertilisers, access to credit and strong extension support – as some of the measures put in place to raise production and profitability.
Chairman of the Council of State, Daasebre Otuo Serebour II applauded the award winners and all farmers, and encouraged them to keep working hard to sustain the economy on the path of growth.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto said government seeks to make agriculture a more attractive and sustainable avenue for employment and investment for both Ghanaians and foreigners alike.
This, he said, called for policies and strategies that are informed by lessons of the past and the success stories of other countries worth emulating.
It has also called for a systematic and well-coordinated approach to ensure the realization of the vision of the President.
He said numerous interventions have been rolled out by government through the ministry, and these are designed to provide impetus for increased production and productivity, as well as promote private sector investments in the agricultural sector.
He stated that appreciable progress has been made as reflected in the sector’s growth rate of about 4.8% in the first nine months of this year
The Minister noted that it has to be placed on record that the success “we have posted so far has been achieved even in the face of some serious constraints, particularly the Fall Army Worm invasion, which government, through the ministry, has effectively managed to bring it under control.
2017 National Best Farmer
Fifty-year-old Philip Kwaku Agyemang from the Dormaa West District in the Brong Ahafo Region, was adjudged the National Best Farmer for the year.
For his prize, he received $100,000, donated by the Agricultural Development Bank.
Employs over 200 workers
He owns the ‘Awurade Na Aye Farms’, and employs in excess of 200 workers.
He is into livestock farming, aquaculture, agro-processing and crop planting.
President Nana Akufo-Addo presented the cheque for the amount to him.
This year’s event was held under the theme ‘Farming for food and jobs’.
First runner-up Madam Mabel Ann Cudjoe, a mixed farmer at Hohoe in the Volta Region, emerged as the first runner-up and drove home a Nissan pick-up vehicle.
The second runner-up position went to another woman farmer, Madam Rebecca Commey, an agro-processor in Ga South, Greater Accra. She was rewarded with a Mitsubishi pick-up vehicle.
77 Farmers recognised
In all, 77 farmers were recognised with various prizes for their outstanding contribution to the growth of the nation’s agriculture.
Among them were Alhaji Yakubu Usman from Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region (Best Cocoa farmer), who was presented with a Toyota pick-up; Mr John Quansah, Best Fisherman; Mr Abdul Mohammed, Best Crop Farmer; Mr Richard Atipugu Asampaga, Best Youth Farmer; and Mr Richard Anim, Best Marine Fisherman. They all took away KIA pick-up vehicles.
National best coffee farmer
The national best coffee farmer award was given to the Plantation Resources Company in the Western Region.