Mrs. Agnes Chigabatia, Upper East Deputy Regional Minister at the weekend said the country could not achieve sustainable agriculture if farmers continued to use bad farming practices.
“This is because the urge for us to go into large scale commercial agriculture make farmers adopt the use of tractor ploughing and use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides instead of adopting simple terracing and organic fertilizers which are sustainable methods of agriculture”, she explained.
Mrs. Chigabatia said this in a speech read on her behalf by the Bawku West District Coordinating Director, Mr.Abudulia Abubakar, during the celebration of the District's farmers day on the theme, 'Ghana at 50, Progress and Challenges of Sustainable Agriculture', at Zebilla.
She said sustainable agriculture should be concerned with the agricultural practices that are economically viable without compromising the quality of the environment and be able to meet current and future needs of the people.
“Social inequalities in land ownership in the country has also increasingly forced subsistence farmers into more and more fragile ecosystems such as hillsides, watersheds and lowland areas, the case of people farming close to the Zongoyire watershed in this District is an example”, she said.
She expressed concern at the seasonal bush fires that the people continue to set despite frequent education on their effects on the environment and crop production, saying, it was a major challenge to sustainable agriculture.
Another way in which sustainable agriculture could elude the area, she said, was through the wanton destruction of the forest for human development and commercial activities such as surface mining.
“It is sad that, our Chiefs and Opinion Leaders allow estate development and galamsey activities to take place in their communities in an uncontrollable manner without showing any concern. Sometimes the galamsey operations would even take place too close to our homes, schools, markets and farms without us showing any remorse at the destruction that they cause”, she said.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Mr. Baba Kumasi, a farmer, called for better market to be arranged for this year's tomato harvest and appealed to the government to help farmers who were affected by the floods with funds so they could farm next season.
Madam Mary Atiah, from Wiiga was the overall Best Farmer in the District and she received a pair of bullocks, ridger and accessories, one Ghetto Bluster, half piece of cloth, Key soap one bag of Fertilizer, a pair of Wellington boots, two cutlasses and a certificate of honour.
Speaking in an interview with the GNA after she received her prize, Madam Atiah said she took over her husband's farm after he got blind.
She said with determination she did her best with the animals, crops and trees and the farm progressed over the 10 year period that she had managed it.
Other Award winners were, Issaka Agaah, Best Livestock, Aduku Akuka, sorghum, Azabilla Awin, rice, Haruna Hamidu, onion, Lazarus Alalwin, maize, and Mba Ayariga, millet. They all received prizes.