Some women farmers
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday gave assurance that his administration would increase public investment in agriculture, starting from the first budget, which is expected to be presented in Parliament on March 7, this year.
He said government was determined to reverse what he termed “the unfortunate trend of the past eight years, which saw a regular decrease in public investment in the sector that provided a living for the majority of the people.
President Akufo-Addo, who was delivering his first State of the Nation Address, said: “I believe the starting point in turning round our fortunes must be with agriculture. Unfortunately, the state of agriculture in our country right now is not good. Farmers are left on their own.”
Continuing, he indicated: “It is not surprising, therefore, that food prices are high and we have to import almost everything we eat, including vegetables from our Sahelian neighbours. And yet, agriculture provides the best opportunity to use modern methods to change the lives of many within the shortest possible time.”
President Akufo-Addo said farming lands must be irrigated and farmers equipped with the skills needed to make farming a well-paying business.
“We aim to popularize farming by encouraging many people to take it up as a full or part-time activity,” he added.
The President said a National Campaign dubbed, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs,’ would be launched to stimulate this activity, adding that an amount of 125 million Canadian dollars had been secured from Canada to support the initiative.
“This campaign will be anchored on the pillars that will transform agriculture through the provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, a marketing strategy and the use of e-Agriculture,” he said.
To initiate the campaign, President Akufo-Addo said the district assemblies would be tasked to identify and register progressive farmers in each of the 216 districts.
One-village, one-dam Policy
“For too long, our farmers have been left to cope by themselves without the necessary support from government. For too long, our farmers have been left to the mercy of the vagaries of the weather.
“We have decided to embark upon a programme to provide water to enable all-year farming. We are calling it the one-village, one-dam policy. It is a programme that I expect will rapidly get the support of the population, and should help to transform food insecurity in our country,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the three Northern Regions, in particular, would benefit from the availability of water to enable all-year farming so that the enforced yearly migration can be minimized to make food production more predictable.
By Cephas Larbi