By Muniratu Akweley Issah
Accra, Sept. 19, GNA-Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, says the government has spent GHC 2.6 billion on subsidies on cocoa seed and fertilizer, which generated GHC 50 billion worth of farm produce for the country.
He said Ghana’s agriculture had risen tall due to the support given to farmers and the reciprocal benefit adding, that it had made the sector perform extraordinarily as compared to other sectors.
Ghana’s agricultural sector recorded an accelerated growth of 8.4 per cent in 2021, as compared to the 7.4 per cent recorded in 2020, the Minister stated.
Speaking at the launch of the 38th edition of the farmers’ day celebration in Accra, Dr Akoto said farmers needed to be commended for the achievement.
“The growth has been accelerating due to the commitment of our farmers. So, we need to commend our farmers for producing in these very difficult global circumstances.”
Ms Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, in a speech read on her behalf, noted that the concept of value addition in agriculture, especially fisheries and aquaculture presented an exceptionally good opportunity for additional revenue generation, job creation, foreign exchange earnings and effective post-harvest management.
Ms Koomson disclosed that in 2021 total fish production stood at some 658,617.53 tonnes estimated at 11.04 billion Ghana cedis, which contributed to about 1.04 per cent of GDP and 20.99 per cent of agriculture, adding that the benefit would have been more if the value additions were included.
She said the Ministry was promoting new products such as fish powder, fish khebab and fish sausage in collaboration with the council for scientific and industrial research, food research institute specifically, products such as fish balls have been developed while up takers are being encouraged to commercialise such products.
She said the ministry had taken a keen interest in pursuing various activities to improve value addition, which included strengthening the capacities of actors in the fish value chain to ensure the production of safe and quality fish products.
To this effect, 994 fish farmers have so far been trained in hygienic fish handling, fish processing and marketing strategies, while 200 fish processors have been also trained in best practices.
The 2022 National Farmers’ Day celebration would be held in the Eastern Region on the theme: Accelerating Agricultural Development through value addition.
Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, Eastern Regional Minister, acknowledged that agriculture could not be left out of the nation’s developmental agenda.
He said: ” Our basic survival and progress as a nation depends on the produce this sector provides. The contribution of this sector to our GDP continues to remain significant and the employment opportunities that exist in this sector cannot be overemphasized”.
He said the Eastern Region was endowed with a unique diversity in terms of culture, ethnicity, and vegetation and contributed to the food basket of the nation.
He commended the National Organizing Committee for the honour bestowed on them to host this year’s National Farmers’ Day celebration and affirmed an effective collaboration to make the celebration a success.
“Let me assure all of you that we will collaborate effectively with the organisers and stakeholders to ensure this year’s celebration will be one of the greatest ever held, if not the best”.
Major sponsors for this year’s farmers’ day celebration include Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Stanbic Bank and Exim Bank.