In the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis of the Western Region, some award winners at the 37th Farmer’s Day celebration are calling on government to have a rethink of how farmers are rewarded for their contributions.
According to them, a critical look at the format and those who receive various awards on the Day suggests that government appears to prioritize on commercial farming.
“Commercial farming is laudable because it can employ as well as feed many people,” they admitted.
But they indicate that consistent support in terms of funds, reliable data and extension services are almost hard to come by.
They observed that though the awards are encouraging, their greatest joy will be to have consistent, reliable and easy-to-get support.
Sixty-year-old George Blay Nketsiah, who has been farming for the past 37 years, was awarded the Best Farmer for Sekondi Takoradi.
He has one acre of Mango, seven acres of Cocoa, seven acres of Palm nuts, two and half acres of Plantain, one acre of vegetables, an acre of Garden eggs and 15 goats.
He received a tricycle, Knapsack sprayer, five pairs of Wellington boots, ten Crocodile cutlasses and a bag of lime.
He corroborated concerns of the other award winners and also added that government should look for litigation free lands for commercial farming.
“Government should also consider looking for land for model farming which will serve as avenues where other farmers can learn best practices from.
“We also want consistent supply of treated seedlings. Sometimes we have to rely on wayside seedlings and it sometimes leads to poor yield. Extension services have been okay for me. In fact, I’m doing well because I apply the advice I get from the extension officer who comes around,” he said.
Metro Director of Agriculture Daniel Asimenu admitted that the sector is beset with a myriad of challenges that will require strategic planning and concerted effort at addressing but mentioned that programmes like Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development and many others are designed to help meet such challenges.
He announced that under the Planting for Export and Rural Development, government has supplied 5,185 coconut seedlings to 34 farmers in the metro to help with the production of virgin coconut oil.
Sekondi Takoradi Mayor Abdul Issah Mumin encouraged the youth to take advantage of the opportunities that initiatives like Planting for Food and Jobs as well as Planting for Export and Development provide and venture into agriculture and not to be chasing after non-existent White Collar jobs.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana