All is set for the 38th National Farmers’ Day celebrations to be held at the Jubilee Park of the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, from Tuesday, November 29 to Friday, December 2, 2022.
This year’s theme is “Accelerating Agriculture Development through Value Addition”.
The celebration will begin with an official opening of an agricultural fair and exhibition on Tuesday, November 29, with the ADB farmers’ forum, to be climaxed with a grand durbar and awards ceremony on Friday, December 2, 2022. The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will be the Special Guest of Honour.
Review of national awards
The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has reviewed the mode of celebrating the National Farmers' Day in response to the current global economic crises and national constraints.
In line with the review, a total of 15 awards will be given at the national level, which includes Overall National Best Farmer; 1st Runner-Up National Best Farmer; 2nd Runner-Up National Best Farmer; National Best Livestock Farmer; National Best Crop Farmer; Overall National Best Fisher; National Best Marine Fisher; National Best Inland Fisher; National Best Fisher Farmer and National Best Fish Processor.
The rest are National Best Cocoa Farmer; National Best Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer; National Best Most Enterprising Cocoa Female Farmer; National Best Coffee Farmer and National Best Shea Nut Picker.
Regional, district awards
This year, the celebrations at the regional level have been restored as a cost-cutting strategy to ease the financial burden on the 16 regional coordinating councils, which hitherto bore the cost of travel expenses, accommodation and lodging of regional award winners and other accompanying officials to participate in the celebration at the national level.
There will be five regional award categories per region, namely: Regional Best Farmer; Regional Best Livestock Farmer; Regional Best Crop Farmer; Regional Best Fisher and Regional Best Agricultural Extension Agent.
The district award categories have been revised from six to three per district, namely: District Best Farmer; District Best Livestock Farmer and District Best Crop Farmer.
The districts that have the financial wherewithal to cater for additional award categories are, however, advised to do so at their own expense.
Value-added agriculture is a movement that has created a life of its own. It is an idea that has the potential to change production agriculture to a more meaningful product.
Changing a raw agricultural product into something new goes through processing, drying, extracting or any other type of process that differentiates the product from the original raw produce.
Adding value to agricultural products is a worthwhile enterprise because of the higher returns rates that come with the enterprise, the opportunity to open new markets and extend the producer’s marketing season. Value-added products are premium in the local market as producers take advantage of high-demand product niches.
Several interventions by the government to enhance food security include the construction of 80 warehouses to address problems of post-harvest losses, irrigation development, plant health and regulation, and the establishment of a Grains Development Authority mandated to regulate and maximise earnings from the grains sector where Ghana has enormous comparative advantage.
It must be mentioned that the observance of the Farmers’ Day is to recognise and celebrate the contributions of farmers and fishers in the country. The current increase in food prices has become a concern to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).
This year’s theme is appropriate due to the recent increase in food prices.
Farmers are the backbone of this country, also because we derive substantial foreign exchange earnings from their toil through the export of agricultural commodities, particularly cocoa.
As we all know, cocoa, Ghana’s leading agricultural export since independence, continues to provide numerous avenues for employment to thousands of citizens along the value chain.
Little wonder agriculture has rightly earned accolades such as the mainstay of Ghana’s economy, the cash cow of the country and the hen that lays the golden eggs.
All these reflect the importance of agriculture to Ghana’s economic development; the more reason why the farmers of this country should be celebrated.
The question is: Who takes over from Alhaji Mashud Mohammed, the 2021 National Best Farmer? Only time will tell as the celebration is climaxed on Friday, December 2, 2022.