The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described the record of his government in the growth and development of the agricultural sector as impressive.

Speaking at the 37th edition of Farmers’ Day on Friday, 3rd December, in Cape Coast, President Akufo-Addo stated that his government, since 2017, has set out to transform Ghanaian agriculture through investment in integrated and mutually reinforcing measures, that are yielding positive results.

Through Planting for Export and Rural Development, which was launched in 2019 to promote the rapid development of six (6) strategic tree crops, i.e., rubber, oil palm, cashew, mango, coconut and shea, and, thereby, diversify and augment our export earnings, President Akufo-Addo revealed that some twenty-nine million (29 million) seedlings have been distributed to some two hundred and twenty thousand (220,000) beneficiary farmers.

Rearing for Food and Jobs, aimed at expanding domestic meat production, and reducing the huge annual import bill for meat and meat products of some three hundred million dollars ($300 million), he said, has seen thousands of different livestock species being distributed to seven (7) national livestock breeding stations in one hundred and sixty-six (166) MMDAs across the country.

On irrigation, the President stated that “the result of significant investment by my government in the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Progamme has resulted in the availability of a total of thirteen thousand, one hundred and ninety (13,190) hectares of additional irrigable land, through the rehabilitation of Tono, Kpong Left Bank and Kpong Irrigation Schemes, for rice and vegetable cultivation.”

To address the perennial challenges of access to credit for our farmers and fisherfolk, the President stated that the Ghana Incentive Based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending Scheme (GIRSAL), which was established in 2019, has approved and issued credit guarantees for agricultural loans to the tune of two hundred and seventy-three million cedis (GH¢273 million).

Construction works on fishing landing sites and harbour projects, located in the Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions, President Akufo-Addo said, are progressing steadily, with the projects expected to facilitate the transformation of the fisheries sector, by providing modernized berthing, handling, processing and mechanization facilities to fisherfolk.

On cocoa, President Akufo-Addo stressed that the sector has seen significant transformation since 2017.

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the commencement of the provision of a pension scheme for farmers started in 2020 under his government, even though the law was promulgated in 1984, with successive governments being unable to bring it into being.

For her part, the minister for fisheries and aquaculture development, Mavis Hawa Koomson has announced that an annual Fisheries festival is to be organized in the country beginning next year to showcase the potential in the aquaculture sector, including all actors in the value chain.

The event, which will be the first of its kind, will be held to coincide with World Fisheries Day which falls on November 21, every year.

Mrs Koomson said the ministry had rolled out an initiative to support and sponsor individuals and groups with an interest in aquaculture.

The minister also said about 10 ponds had been constructed at various places to help realize the goal, adding that “100 women would be trained in fish handling and processing to enhance their capacity”.

She commended players in the fisheries sector for their immense role in ensuring food security, particularly the protein needs of the country.

On illegal fishing, the minister emphasized that her outfit would not tolerate the practice which she said was gradually destroying marine life, adding that “we will not tolerate any illegal fishing activity; perpetrators will duly be prosecuted when caught in the act”.

The minister further said that canoes without registration numbers would not benefit from the government’s premix fuel intervention.The Central Regional Minister, Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, said the theme for the celebration was in line with the government’s effort towards attaining food security in the country.

She said the region depended on agriculture as its main economic activity as 60 percent of the population were farmers.

According to the minister, the region had benefited from the construction of six warehouses while 237,471 farmers had also received support to shore up food production and improve their living conditions.

The event, which was on the theme: “Planting for Food and Jobs: Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana”, saw 165 farmers and fishers receive various prizes which consist of cash and farm inputs for their hard work in the year.

By: Isaac Clottey

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