Agriculture Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has lauded Ghanaian farmers and fisherfolk for breaking their back to put food on the table of the citizenry at the height of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday to invite lawmakers to this year’s National Farmers’ Day celebration slated for Friday, November 6, 2020 in Techiman, the Bono East Regional capital, Dr Afriyie said the efforts of farmers made sure Ghanaians had nutritious foods to boost their immune systems to battle the virus.
“Mr Speaker, we recognised that the toil and sweat of farmers ensured that the country’s food security is firmly intact, and has helped to avert hunger as some people feared.
“I must hasten to add that Planting For Food and Jobs (PFJ), government’s flagship programme accounted largely for the country’s food security and ability to effectively manage the pandemic,” he told the House.
According to Dr Afriyie, though the significance of farmers and fisherfolk has never been in doubt, their indispensability was further highlighted during the course of the pandemic.
To be marked under the theme “Ensuring Agri-business Development under Covid-19 – Opportunities and Challenges,” Dr Afriyie said the choice of the theme has contemporary significance given the ravaging effect of the virus on socio-economic activities globally.
He explained that the event which is traditionally held every first Friday of December has to be held a month earlier because of the upcoming polls on December 7.
“This decision was taken because the general elections in our considered view, takes precedence over every other event on our national calendar,” he clarified.
Government, he said, would continue to put farmers at the centre of national development to be able to energise the people to work for the progress of the country.
Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, commenting on the statement urged that government did more to make agriculture more appealing to the youth to venture into it.
The political class and the affluent in society, the Ketu North MP charged, should consider investing in the sector for the youth to know that agriculture was not for only the poor and uneducated.
Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on his part tasked government to make conscious effort to connect the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative with government’s One District One Factory policy to ensure that there was ready market for the harvest to be made from the PFJ.
By doing this, the Suame MP was convinced that market and price for farmers would be handy to give the farmers a decent living and a better life whilst developing the economy.
This year’s event will be the 36th edition since its inception.
The climax, to be preceded by a week-long agric fair, the National Farmers’ Day is a platform to celebrate the invaluable contribution of farmers and fisherfolk to the development of the country.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI
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