Parliament on Wednesday paid a glowing tribute to farmers and fishermen in the country for their role in ensuring food security in the country and expressed the need to improve their living conditions.
The Members of Parliament were contributing to a statement made on the floor of the house by Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu National Democratic Congress (NDC) member of Parliament for Mion and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, ahead of the 26 the National Farmers Day to be held at Somanya in the Eastern Region today.
Under the theme: “Grow more food for a better Ghana.” over 50 farmers and fishermen will be awarded for their efforts in enhancing agriculture productivity at the national level.
There will be similar ceremony at regional and district levels.
Dr Yakubu said on the back of national farmer, Ghana was getting closer to becoming a food secured nation and generating more foreign exchange for national development.
He said tonnage of staples such as cereal, root and tubers and national food consumption computation in 2009 indicated surpluses for maize, yams, cassava and groundnuts adding that rice had also picked up momentum with a 30 per cent increase in production in 2009.
Dr Yakubu said the impressive statistics had resulted in improved food supply and consequently lowering food inflation to less than three per cent as of September this year, the lowest food inflation in 19 years.
“This coupled with generally low inflation of 9.3 per cent as at September 2010 is an indication that citizens can afford more food at reasonable prices,” he said.
Dr Yakubu however stressed the need for more to be done for agriculture and the Ghanaian farmer.
He mentioned provision of rural infrastructure, delivery of appropriate production technologies and attaining a proactive agricultural governance system as some of the issues that needed attention.
He said investment of expected petroleum revenue in agriculture, research and development must be an unquestionable priority.
“It may be the opportunity to invest in the most critical irrigation infrastructure such that by the time petroleum resources are depleted, irrigation agriculture would be contributing more to our agricultural production and productivity than the current situation of total reliance on rain fed agriculture,” he added.
Ernest Debrah New Patriotic Party(NPP) member of Parliament for Tano North and immediate past Minister of Food and Agriculture and Minority Spokesman on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs while underscoring the significance of the farmers’ day however said it only benefited a hand full of farmers at the expense of the majority farmers who were still wallowing in poverty.
Mr Debrah expressed the need for massive rural infrastructure development in terms of provision of electricity, water supply, health facilities, education, and decent accommodation to improve the living conditions of the farmers.
Clement Humado NDC Member of Parliament for Anlo commended farmers and also stressed the need for more incentives to farmers and fishermen to continue to produce more.
Mr Humado praised the immediate past Minister of Agriculture, Mr Debrah, for working to enhance the national farmers’ day celebration.