135 Farmers To Be Honoured At This Year’s National Farmers Day Event

According to reports, about 135 indigenous farmers and fishers will be honoured at the 36th edition of the National Farmers Day in Techiman, the Bono East Regional capital come Friday, 6 November 2020.

Normally held on the first Friday of every year, this year’s edition has been rescheduled to this month to make room for the much-awaited December 7 general elections.

In light of this, it is worth noting that the National Farmers Day event is an event organized to recognise farmers and fisherfolk who have contributed to the sustenance and well-being of Ghanaians.

That said, considering the presence of the novel coronavirus in the country, the event will be held virtually, with the physical durbar limited largely to a selected number of guests.

This year’s celebration has been dubbed: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19 — Opportunities and Challenges”.

Change of Date

Presenting a statement on the floor of Parliament yesterday, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture intimated that owing to the upcoming general election on December 7, the date for the event had been altered from the usual first Friday of December as dictated by the convention around the celebration to November 6, 2020.

“This decision was taken because the general election, in our considered view, takes precedence over every event on our national calendar,” he said.

COVID-19 Protocols

Speaking on how the event will be held, the sector minister divulged that due to the dangers of the novel coronavirus to general wellbeing and safety which required the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people at some point during the year and the implementation of other protocols which had endured from there on — brought up major questions about the attainability of arranging the current year’s National Farmers Day.

“Indeed, we were caught up in a dilemma, a Catch-22 situation, of not honouring our farmers and fisherfolk as a national gesture of appreciation for their roles in national development and the likely adverse effect on their motivation or to proceed to organise the event, with all the attendant risks,” he said.

He, however, said after extensive consultations, the decision was taken to organise the event virtually, such as leveraging technology and ensuring strict adherence to the protocols and directives announced by the President.

“Mr Speaker, as a result, for the first time in the history of the preparatory phase of the event, the 2020 National Farmers Day celebration was launched virtually,” he said.

Reasons For The Event

Addressing the House on why the date was changed, the Agric minister told the House that the main factor that tipped the ministry’s decision in favour of organising the event was the fact that the pandemic had highlighted the indispensability of farmers.

He said in a very significant way, farmers and fisherfolk kept the nation afloat at the peak of the pandemic by continuously “breaking their backs to put food on our tables and providing our nutritional needs”.

“This was a vital requirement for strengthening the immune system to combat the pandemic effectively.

“Further, Mr Speaker, we recognise that the toil and sweat of farmers have ensured that the country’s food security is firmly intact and has helped to avert hunger,” he said.

Make Agribusiness Attractive

Contributing, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, stressed the need for proceeds from the Planting for Food and Jobs programme to be fully utilized to feed factories under the One-district, One-factory initiative to bolster industrialisation in Ghana.

According to him, that would help guarantee reasonable prices for farmers, for their toil and boost agriculture in the country.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Mr James Avedzi, also called on the minister to help make farming an attractive venture for the youth.

He also urged his colleagues in the house, ministers of state and other government officials to venture into farming to help the youth see agribusiness as a lucrative venture.

Day Not Holiday

Meanwhile, Friday, November 6 will not be a holiday,  the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, has revealed.

Traditionally, the National Farmers Day is marked as a statutory holiday. But unfortunately, the Interior Minister yesterday said while Friday would not be a holiday, the original date, the first Friday in December, which falls on December 4, will be a holiday.

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