The Bongo District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr. Ayamdor Alexis Adugdaa has observed that even though Ghana has hit oil in commercial quantities, agriculture still contributes more than half of the country’s export earnings.
He added that the agricultural sector remained the backbone of the Ghanaian economy and continues to provide employment to over 70% of the population.
Mr. Adugdaa who made the observation at the 30th National Farmers’ Day celebration held at Dua in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region further noted that the sector contributes up to 36% of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.
He said the theme for this year’s event “Eat What You Grow” was relevant as it sought to encourage farmers and fisherman folks to produce more crop and animal products for home consumption as well as for export.
He said the net result is that foreign exchange would be reserved to invest in Agricultural activities such as procurement of modern farm equipment, introduction of new techniques, provision subsidies among others.
The DCE further noted that “we will also create employment, reduce poverty, improve our nutritional diet and become food sufficient.
It does not only end there, but our industries would use some of what we grow to produce finish products” such as Ruut Extra, a Ghanaian beer made from cassava.
Relying on the 2015 budget statement, he reiterated that Government will establish 41 Agricultural Mechanisation Services Enterprise Centres, produce more vaccines to increase poultry production while the mass cocoa spraying will continue. Scholarships will be awarded to children of cocoa farmers in Senior High Schools.
According to Mr. Ayamdor, Government will support more deprived Ghanaian communities to build schools and libraries in order to bring schools closer to farming communities so as to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and farmers will be given free planting materials to enable them replant and rehabilitate cocoa and other commercial crop farms.
Meanwhile, a fisherman’s life insurance scheme will be piloted in selected Coastal and Inland fishing communities including Kpong, Ada, Axim, Dixcove and Elmina as well as the construction of a fisheries College and a Turkey fish procession factory at Anomabu and Elmina respectively will continue.
The DCE said overall, Government plans to allocate an amount of GH¢411,821,430.00 to implement the activities in the agriculture sector in 2015. He however noted that the Bongo District had the worst ever rainy season ever and thus urged citizens in the district protect the environment by guarding against indiscriminate tree felling and bush burning.
The DCE commended the Ghana Grid Company Limited [GRIDO], Trade Works Ghana, Unilever Ghana Limited, the National Investment Bank [NIB] Bolga Branch, CEVAG Company Limited, Tema and Union Oil at Namoo saying their contributions largely helped in the successful organisation of the district’s farmers’ day event.
He advised drivers and riders plying the country’s road especially the rough untarred 15 kilometre Bolgatanga-Bongo road stressing they should avoid alcohol, over-speeding and making calls whiles driving.
He also used the occasion to commend the Ayopia-Gongadoore community which received an award from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development after having made remarkable improvements in sanitation and hygiene through the successful implementation of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach and tasked other communities in the district to follow suit.
Overlord of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Alemyaarum commended all farmers saying those not awarded should not feel they have been discriminated against but rather be satisfied in the fact that their hard work had fed thousands of Ghanaian families.
He called for the growing of more trees stressing that a good tree cover across the traditional area will be a guarantee for better rains during each rainy season.
Forty-eight year old Alhaji Bukari Aborigo from the Dua-Nayiri community emerged the overall district best farmer for the 2014 cropping season. He took home a brand new motor-king, a pair of wellington boots and two cutlasses among other home consumables.
By Peter Atogewe Wedam