From Simmons Yussif Kewura, Kumasi
THE MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for Oforikrom in Kumasi, Elizabeth Agyemang, has expressed fears that the oil find may pose a threat to the country’s agriculture sector, as many would be heading towards the sector, in order to make quick money.
The MP has therefore, suggested that attractive measures should be put in place for the youth to venture into agriculture.
The MP, who was addressing farmers at Appiadu, near Kumasi, at this year’s Farmers Day celebration organised by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), indicated that in most countries where oil has been discovered in large quantities, their agriculture industry had suffered.
She also advised the government to tackle roads, health, communication and electricity as priorities for the rural areas, so that the youth would not feel isolated when they decide to go into farming.
The Oforikrom MP also noted that apart from all these social immunities, guaranteed prices for agriculture produce such as maize, cassava and yam, among others, would be attractive enough for the youth to venture into agriculture.
According to her, the construction of storage facilities like silos, and better preservation for the farm produce to avoid post-harvest losses should also be considered.
Elizabeth Agyemang was of the view that most of the banks established to support agriculture in the country had decided to put farmers on the sidelines, thereby making them cash-strapped, which is preventing most of them from going into large scale farming.
She therefore, appealed to banks, particularly, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), to see farmers as their rightful partners to develop the country, as far as agriculture was concerned.
In a speech read for him, the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) for Kumasi, Mr. Samuel Sarpong, noted that though Kumasi was an urban area, still there was the need to promote certain agricultural practices, such as the production, processing and marketing of produce which thrive on small land spaces.
Some of the produce mentioned by the MCE were cabbages, carrots, sweet potato and green pepper. According to him, the production of non-food agricultural products such as ornamentals, horticulture, apiculture and raising of seedlings should be considered as agricultural activities, which, according to him, were worthy for adoption.
Sarpong appealed to investors to venture into the processing and storage of agricultural produce, saying, “Value addition increases the shelf-life of our farm produce and ensures food security.”
The MCE commended farmers in the metropolis and those who sell the produce at the markets for ensuring food for Kumasi residents.
A 61 year old, Anafo Sakpari, a native of the Upper East Region, emerged as the Kumasi Metropolitan Best Farmer.
He took home a 21-inch colour Sanyo television, a Phoenix bicycle, a spraying machine, watering can, a cassette player, wellington boots, cutlasses and a sword which serves as a symbol of the Metropolitan Chief Farmer for 2010-2011.
Mr. Sakpari has more than 20,000 birds, 40 cattle, 200 pigs, a 14-acre farm of palm nuts, and 2-acre farm of coconuts.
The Best Institution award category went to New Mercury, a Kumasi-based FM station, for its contribution to agriculture in one of its programmes, ‘Akuafo Mmere’.
The Metro Coordinating Director for Kumasi, Mr. Afari Gyem, won the Best Gardener award.