From Ernest Best Anane, Ejuratia-Ashanti
The 2014 District Best Farmer of Afigya Kwabre in the Ashanti Region and Executive Director of TIG Farms, Mr. Isaac Twum, has commended Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his overwhelming victory in the last general elections, culminating in his assumption of office as the First Gentleman of the land.
He has, however, appealed to the Akufo-Addo government to prioritise the agricultural sector towards reviving the dwindling economy. According to the Best Farmer, the agricultural sector is dying, because nothing has gone on well in the past three years.
He revealed that about 90% and 80% of rice and maize respectively used or consumed in the country is imported, while yellow maize is being imported from La Cote d’Ivoire, Argentina and Brazil, adding that cocoa production has also gone down drastically.
Mr. Twum urged the new government to put a lot into all the sectors in agriculture, as the sector alone employs about 60% of the populace, including the youth.
He attributed the current state of the agric sector to its total neglect by governments, as agriculture extension officers of the Ministry of food and Agriculture (MoFA) are no longer visiting farmers, or going to the fields.
According to him, farmers now have to pay for fertilisers and chemicals imported into the country. He called on the government to revert the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to the Ministry of Agriculture.
He also pleaded with Nana Addo and his government to extend his ‘One Village, One Dam’ policy, not only to the three northern regions, but to the cocoa growing areas in the south, as the rainfall pattern has changed.
The Best Farmer asked farmers to embrace the “One Village, One Dam” policy, since the practice of irrigation is the only way to improve agriculture in the country.
He challenged stakeholders to inculcate the ideas into the citizenry to realise that they should not rely on rainfall alone in going into agriculture, but to strengthen agricultural extension and create an enabling marketing environment for their produce.