Speech by Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the Opening Ceremony of the 5-Day National Agricultural Fair and Regional Focus

Speech by Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, at the Opening Ceremony of the 5-Day National Agricultural Fair and Regional Focus

  • Nana Chairman Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II (Paramount Chief of the Ogua Traditional Area),
  • Nana Prah Agyensaim VI
  • Minister For Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Mrs. Hawa Koomson
  • The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Kati Csaba
  • The Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Justina Marigold Assan
  • Ministers of State
  • Deputy Ministers
  • Chairman & Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Food and Agriculture
  • Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives
  • FAO Country Representative,
  • Representatives of Development Partners
  • Managing Director for Agriculture Development Bank and Heads of Financial Institutions here assembled
  • The Chief Executives of COCOBOD
  • Traditional Authorities,
  • 2020 National Best Farmer,
  • Directors of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, And Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Members of the Media Fraternity.
  • Invited Guests
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

After months of preparations towards this year’s Farmers’ Day Celebration, I am excited to be here for the opening of the 5-Day Agricultural Fair; the main precursor to the D-day. As a Ministry, we have travelled a long way to this point, what I like to describe as the home stretch to 3rd December, 2021, the day for observing National Farmers’ Day as dictated by statute.

Mr. Chairman, the 5-day Fair has been an integral part of planned activities ahead of the big event. The duration of the Fair is an extension of two days from what was inherited. The thought processes that informed the decision was to afford actors in the agricultural space ample time to interact longer to serve the purpose of the Fair. The feedback on the extension has been positive and we intend to sustain it.

Mr. Chairman, not least because we consider it an important strategy for accelerating our effort towards the realization of the modernization and transformation agenda for agriculture. Potentially, the Agricultural Fairs will contribute to the objectives of job creation, food security and poverty reduction if the knowledge, exposure and lessons learnt here are translated into action. Critically, we also believe that Agricultural Fairs will promote sustainable agriculture and thriving agribusiness from the information and opportunities they present. Ghana as we all know is on a mission of leveraging technology in all sectors including agriculture.  E-Agriculture is therefore being mainstreamed to ensure efficient delivery of services to farmers and also actors along the agricultural value chain. It is also to enhance productivity and output for greater profitability.

Indeed, we are very excited about the new era of technology and some of the areas that technology is being applied. These include extension services, development of database for the biometric registration of farmers for effective targeting, soil mapping and disease control among others.

Mr. Chairman, notwithstanding the exciting times, there are equally major challenges that undermine the efforts being made to transform agriculture. We all know about the hikes in prices on the international market of agricultural product such as fertilizer and agrochemicals both of which are critical to achieving our transformation agenda. The impact on the subsidy programme under the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign has been worrying and explains reported shortages of subsidized input in some part of the country. As a Ministry,  we are doing everything possible to stabilize the situation in the coming year.

Mr. Chairman, the development of agriculture cannot be solely undertaking by government. In recognition of this, the Ministry continues to work closely with private sector and our development partners in delivering the modernization and transformation agenda and ensuring food security by building resilient food systems and supporting farmers in particular. On occasions such as this, it is important to recognize the fertile partnership that has been established with the private sector and other stakeholders. Indeed without their participation in this Agricultural Fair, the purpose of the Fair will not be served, so while saluting you, I look forward in the coming year for greater collaboration to continue building momentum for the accelerated development of agriculture.

I thank you for your attention.

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