Accra, Nov 28, GNA-Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Monday outlined the policies of the Government to make the second phase of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) the hub of national development. He said the GPRS II placed special emphasis on how to ensure that agriculture became the nerve centre of the nation's effort to achieve a middle-income status by 2015.
Vice President Alhaji Mahama was speaking at a cocktail party organised by the Agricultural Development Bank in honour of the 65 award- winning farmers and fishers for the 21st National Farmers Day celebration, in Accra.
The party was a prelude to the grand celebration to come off on Friday December 2, at Navrongo in the Upper East Region, to be addressed by President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Vice President Mahama said food had become available and affordable through the gallant contribution of farmers and fishers, adding that Government would ensure that agriculture moved from the current growth rate of seven to 14 per cent per annum.
This, he however, said could not be achieved through unreliable rainfall, poor harvest, expensive transportation of food and marketing problems, and unaffordable credit.
Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, announced that Government would unveil a special programme on Friday that would give farming a big boost next year.
Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries said a country that relied on handouts would not attract the dignity and self respect it deserved. She said industrialisation of the country should be based on fishing and farming which would go a long way to reduce poverty.
Mrs Asmah commended women for producing 60 per cent of the agricultural needs of Ghana.
Mr Edward Boakye-Agyeman, Acting Managing Director of the ADB, said the Bank had since the inception of the National Farmers Day provided the needed support.
He said since 2001, ADB had provided three-bedroom furnished house to the national best farmer.