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National Farmers’ Day : Celebrating Farmers In a Declining Sector

While awards and gentrifications are necessary incentives to boost the enthusiasm of the average farmer or fisherman into doing more, they are in fact, a partial portion of what our farmers duly and in reality, really need.

We live in a world of widespread hunger and undernourishment and frequent famines. It is often assumed – if only implicitly – that we can do little to remedy these desperate situations. It is also presumed, frequently enough, that these maladies may actually get worse in the long run, especially with the growth of world population.
Amartya Sen couldn’t have captured it any better in her renowned book ” Development as FREEDOM”.

As a Ghanaian, it appears quite surprising that despite the vast amount of resources we call our own, we still need to rely on others to solve our very basic needs. It is more depressing that we have shown little or no enthusiasm towards a sector that churns out the largest portion of our GDP.
I’m of the opinion that Agriculture will forever remain the very backbone of this country, and in the wake of relentless poverty, Agric is the most appropriate tool that can be used to salvage the situation.
Over the years, government and generous donors have spent millions of cedis in a bid to honour or reward our indefatigable farmers and fishers for their contribution towards the economy and most importantly towards the survival of humankind.

While awards and gentrifications are necessary incentives to boost the enthusiasm of the average farmer or fisherman into doing more, they are in fact, a partial portion of what our farmers duly and in reality, really need.
The awards do not fix the bad roads connecting farming communities to major cities and towns, neither do they revive the poor irrigation systems, the awards do not offer proper post-harvest management system, neither do they fix our poor marketing structure. The celebration doesn’t fix the many impoverished bits of the agricultural sector, it is just ceremonial, a status quo, a culture that doesn’t seem to be dynamic. The lost of time and resources which goes into this holiday and celebration could be channelled into more productive ventures.

BACKGROUND
The National Farmers Day is commemorated each year on the first Friday of December to honour our gallant farmers and Fishers. The event acknowledges the vital position Farmers and Fishers occupy in the nations socio-economic development.
In particular, Ghana acknowledges farmers and fishers untiring efforts at feeding our growing population, providing raw materials to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.

There is no source of encouragement for the farmer who cannot afford the basic living of life, there is no encouragement enough to improve the production level of the farmer if he still gets cheated on market prices.
The average farmer does not need to witness an award celebration to be encouraged to produce more; what he needs is an enabling environment, enabling enough to thrive, enabling enough to be more productive.

I digress, but likewise, anytime I come across our leaders trying to instil the sense of entrepreneurship through speeches and articles among the youth, I cringe and sob. Consistently, we have wailed; the youth cannot entrepreneur themselves under unstable electricity, bad roads, hard economic conditions, high utility tariffs, poor policies, unscrupulous leadership etc.
For thirty-two (32) years, we have been giving awards and honours to our farmers for what?
We cannot continue to celebrate decline and mediocrity. In a country where our GDP is massively supported by agriculture, it is pathetic to have farmers who are poor.

To accentuate my thoughts, the General Agriculture Workers Union on the eve of the celebration organised a press conference to opine the need to look back at celebrating “National Farmers’ Day”. READ HERE

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