Deputy Minister in charge of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has appealed to the leadership and members of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) to rescind their decision to boycott this year’s farmers’ day celebration.
PFAG in a statement on Wednesday said it would be ‘absolutely’ ridiculous for its members to observe this year's Farmers' Day celebrations when most of them are battling with post-harvest losses and lack of market.
But in an interview on Eyewitness News, the Deputy Minister who described the action by the farmers as unfortunate pleaded on them to join the celebration since the government is in the process of resolving their concerns.
“If we have such a huge number of people being the backbone of agriculture in this country boycott a national celebration which seeks to recognise and reward their hard work for the years that they have been in that field, it’s quite unfortunate but I will plead with them that they should rescind their decision and come and join us to celebrate this year’s farmers’ day. I believe the steps that government is taking to address their issue, very soon they will see it but already government is doing a lot”.
For PFAG, “there is nothing to celebrate when some members are still counting on their losses,” the association said in its statement.
PFAG, however, commended government for setting aside a day to appreciate farmers' role in the growth and development of the country.
Every first Friday in December every year is set aside to celebrate farmers and fisherfolk in the country.
The theme for the celebration is: “Enhancing Small Scale Agriculture towards Agribusiness Development.”
Ahead of the celebration, PFAG in its statement also congratulated all smallholder farmers, especially those who will be awarded prizes at the local level.
PFAG said while it fully supports the government's ban on the importation of rice by 2022 and other food crops that can be produced in Ghana, it wants the government to remain committed to the plan.
“Adopting Nigeria's food importation ban concept [immediate ban] will not only help to reduce Ghana's import bill but create employment opportunities in Ghana and stabilize the cedi as well as put smiles on the faces of smallholder rice farmers. Concrete measures need, therefore, to be put in place to commence a ban on imports such as a reduction in 2020 rice imports,” said PFAG.