The National Planning Committee for the 2021 National Farmers’ Day [NFD] celebrations continue to attract some goodwill and support from corporate Ghana as some three companies, converged at the Agric Ministry late Wednesday afternoon and made various donations including cash and items.
The donors included Broadspectrum Ltd. – a communications technologies company, K. Badu Agrochemicals Company Ltd. and UPL Callighana Ltd., agrochemical and bio-solutions technology developers. Broadspectrum and Callighana both made cash donations of 80,000.00 Ghana Cedis and 10,000.00 Ghana Cedis respectively, while K. Badu company presented 15 pieces of motorized sprayers in aid of the pending event.
This year’s edition of the National Farmers’ Day (NFD) which is the 37th in the series is themed “Planting for Food and Jobs – Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana”. The national event is scheduled to take place on December 3, 2021 at the Adisadel College Park in Cape Coast.
Deputy Minister in charge of Crops at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo who chairs the National Planning Committee, received the donations at a brief ceremony and commended the donors for their gesture. He noted that the cash and items were of immense assistance that will help in the successful hosting of this year’s Farmers’ Day.
Hon. Addo who is also the Member of Parliament for the Manso Edubia Constituency in the Ashanti Region, explained that it was a normal practice annually, for the planning committee under the auspices of the Ministry to solicit support from the corporate community in whatever form, to assist Government in planning and executing the event. He said, aside the fact that most of these companies have good working relations with the Ministry, their support for the annual event also falls rightly in line with the discharge of their corporate social responsibility and appealed to other business owners and institutions to come on board.
Touching on the theme for the year’s event, the Deputy Minister observed that since the inception of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme [PFJ] in 2017, some meaningful gains had been made much to the benefit of the poor Ghanaian farmer and other agric-sector players hence, the need to consolidate such gains and further improve standards. He added that, the theme was an all-encompassing one because it ideally included all facets of agriculture from the farm gates to the fisheries sector; involving all whose livelihoods are dependent on the various value chains feeding into the overall food system of the country.
According to him, a major concern for Government is to ensure that “Ghanaians get the best of our agriculture and that’s the totality of the food system”. To him, the PFJ Programme remains a critical catalyst to achieving this and all stakeholders including the media, are called upon to continue supporting government for the effective discharge of this mandate.
Hon. Addo further observed that farm yields especially cereals and grains, had remarkably increased as a result of subsidized farm inputs made available to farmers through the PFJ and that, what seems to cause a shortfall sometimes is that, the country’s neighbours often had unrestricted access to farm produce on the Ghanaian markets and consequently, haul several thousands of bags of various produce out of the country. He disclosed also that, rice production for instance, doubled in years 2018 and 2019 though it still did not match up to the national consumption quotas per annum.
He however assured the public and farmer-community that, Government has not abandoned intentions to establish a fertilizer production plant in the country as a long-term solution. He said, the COVID-19 pandemic troubled the PFJ programme as countries that produce and supply fertilizers to Ghana, were also hit and thus could not keep up the trial. Therefore, if Ghana had its own production firm, the PFJ would run smoothly without any drawbacks. In the meantime, however, he revealed that tenders were being opened to secure capable suppliers who will bring in the required quantities of fertilizers in good time for the next cropping season.
After presenting his company’s cheque, Managing Director of Callighana Mr. Bernard Okutu, whose company has been operating in Ghana since 2003 with expertise in importation and distribution of agrochemicals said, his outfit deemed it necessary to help the planning committee because “the farmer is the person that gives us business and we consider them as our primary partners thus, we are motivated every year to support the farmer”.
BY PETER ATOGEWE WEDAM
GIJ INTERN – PR UNIT