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 industries, and contributing substantially to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
Unfortunately, a closer look at the event reveals that it is much celebrated by the media, civil and public servants other than the targeted group-farmers. It is 8: 45am and the program will soon start in the western region but I just called my uncle back at the village and he is already heading to his farm to harvest his millet. It is unarguable that there are several other uncles, fathers, unties across the country that are not aware that they are being celebrated today. And you know it.
How can we as a nation use this day to celebrate our indigenous, peasant and commercial farmers together? These unfortunate, uncelebrated farmers are left behind because of their inability to purchase farm inputs and machinery to enable them produce on larger scales. As a country, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we can’t fight and conquer poverty and hunger in the country without full empowerment of the very people who are affected.
There have been calls for government to incorporate farmers’ access to financial service into national Policies, resulting in initiatives such as the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP) and Youth In Agriculture Programme (YIAP).
But such interventions have yet to rake in the desired impact mainly because they are targeted at commercial farming.
2015 is almost here and Ghana is yet to meet the MDGs. In as much as commercial farming generates revenue for running the economy, Government must endeavor to empower the peasant farmers in the country. With access to financial services and some time to time education on current practices in agriculture, they can also increase their output.
Government surely cannot do this alone but through partnerships with private institutions and even individuals who are interested in the empowerment of the entire nation, our uncles, unties and cousins who still live under the poverty line can move out of it on their own.