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THE INVALUABLE contributions of farmers and fishermen to food sufficiency and the overall development of the country have received huge commendation from Members of Parliament on the floor of the House.

Chairman for the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan; the Ranking Member on the Committee, Ernest Akobuor Debrah; Tanko Abdul-Rauf Ibrahim, MP for Yagaba/Kubori and other members of the House, yesterday eulogized the country’s hardworking farmers and fishermen for their sustained effort in providing food for the people amid serious challenges.

Making a statement to mark this year’s Farmers Day, which is today December 2, 2011, Dr. Alhassan remarked, “Our farmers and fishers toil in the fields and turbulent seas to bring food to our dinning tablets, provide raw materials to keep the wheels of industry turning and also products needed in the world market to rake in the needed foreign exchange for development.”

This year’s Farmers Day, which is on the theme ‘Grow More Food: Research for Sustainable Development’, is being held at Agona Nsaba in the Central Region.

Dr. Alhassan particularly acknowledged the good performance of cocoa farmers, saying, “We can be proud of our cocoa farmers in particular as they achieved the unprecedented 1million ton output for the nation.”

The Food, Agriculture Committee Chairman, who is also the MP for Mion, commended government for continuing with intervention initiated by previous administrations to increase food production in the country.

“Input subsidy programme for farm machinery (tractors and combined harvesters), water pumps, seed, fertilizer other chemicals are ongoing. Government should be praised for sustaining and deepening these initiatives as production and productivity at the farm level are on the rise for targeted commodities,” he pointed out.

He however lamented over some challenges confronting farmers and the agriculture sector including Ghana’s over reliance on natural rainfall to grow crops and livestock.

Dr. Alhassan commended the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for formulating the appropriate policy responses to arrest or to reduce the impact of these challenges and make farming more attractive as a way of life and a profitable business.

Congratulating the farmers, Ernest Akobuor Debrah, the MP for Tano North, entreated government to give farmers the needed motivation, equipment and infrastructure to improve productivity.

“The performance of the state in providing adequate tools for farmers and fishers is appalling,” the ranking member for the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs bemoaned, pointing out that “for the past five years, the state has been talking about landing sites and up to date, not a single one has been built and fishermen have traveling to Accra to by ice block to store fish”.

He called on government to provide adequate financial assistance to farmers and fishermen to enable them to increase productivity.

Tanko Abdul-Rauf Ibrahim, MP for Yagaba/Kubori, said although the awards given to farmers were encouraging, there was till much to be done to improve their productivity.

Government, he suggested, should provide adequate social amenities such as schools, clinics in farming communities so farmers’ children could get access to improved education and healthcare.

This, Alhaji Tanko noted, would serve as motivation for farmers to stay in their communities and engage in farming.
Source: Daily Guide Ghana

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