The Government has affirmed its unwavering resolve to assist Ghanaian universities and researchers to proffer smart solutions for sustainable agricultural development and growth.
Vice- President Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said that was the path to take given the emerging trends in the sector, particularly in the face of the increasing application of technology in addressing challenges in agriculture.
“Our academics and researchers have the brains to take us into the smart world of the 21st Century,” he stated in a speech delivered at the 2023 National Farmers’ Day Celebration, at Tarkwa, in the Western Region.
The world, he said, was moving towards smart solutions to bring predictability and precision along the agricultural value chain.
“This is where we are going,” he stressed, adding that it was imperative for the nation to explore avenues in applying all the tools of the fourth industrial revolution – digital tools, Artificial Intelligence, satellite sensors, among others – to enhance agricultural productivity.
He commended the universities and research institutions for some of the work already done to support the agricultural sector over the years.
Some of these technologies are development and dissemination of improved climate-smart crop varieties, design and application of efficient irrigation systems with solar technology and adoption of conservational agriculture.
Others bother on the application of precision agriculture with the use of drones, improved market information and use of digital platforms for training, improved storage systems and technologies to reduce post-harvest losses.
While espousing the government’s determination to foster food security and resilience, Vice-President Alhaji Dr. Bawumia said the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PfJ) had been designed to achieve the nation’s agricultural objectives.
The new phase, launched in August, this year, held a lot of promise for the food and agricultural sectors given the valuable lessons learnt from the past, he noted.
Tetrete Okuamoah Sekyim, President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, and also Omanhene of Wassa Amenfi, lauded the government for the many incentive packages and support for farmers.
He stressed the need for the youth to embrace farming to enhance their living conditions.
Dr. Bryan Acheampong, Minister of Agriculture, said the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme was a ‘game-changer’.
It will help reduce the challenges militating against the attainment of a resilient food system.
It focuses on eleven selected commodity value chains, which when developed can contribute to the transformation of the sector, including maize, rice, soybean and sorghum, as well as vegetables.
The 39th National Farmers’ Day Celebration was held on the theme: “Delivering Smart Solutions for Food Security and Resilience”.
Charity Akortia, 57, emerged the Overall National Best Farmer, and was given one million Ghana Cedis as her prize. She is into vegetable seed production, processing, acquaculture, livestock, among others.
In all, 16 farmers received awards, ranging from cash prizes, tractors, plaques to double cabin trucks.
The other award categories included National Best Shea Nut Picker, National Best Cocoa Farmer, National Best Fisheries Extension Officer, National Best Inland Fisher, National Best Acquaculture Farmer and National Best Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer.