Today is Farmers Day

After feverish preparations and anticipation, it all comes down to today at the Volta Regional Capital, Ho, where the nation’s best farmers and fishers will be celebrated and honoured for their hard work at the 35th National Farmers’ Day.

Being held on the theme: “Enhancing Small Scale Agriculture towards Agribusiness Development,” 24 deserving farmers and fishers will receive the national award, with one of them also being crowned the Overall Best National Farmer.

Stakeholders in agriculture from all over the country as well as major players along the agric sector value chain have arrived and huge exhibition tents have been erected at the venue, the Jubilee Park, which also played host to the Agric and Regional Focus Fair which opened last Monday.

Grand Durbar and Awards

The Jubilee Park at Ho, the venue for today’s event, has seen a facelift in readiness for the grand durbar which will have the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as well as chiefs from the region, the farmers to be honoured and other dignitaries in attendance.

The award for the overall best farmer has varied over time, from tractors to three-bedroom houses. Since 2017, substantial cash has been presented to the winner to invest business.

While the main prize for this year will be cash, the organisers, the Ministry of Agriculture, has kept the figure a secret, to be announced at the ceremony today.

The award winners are picked after a close monitoring of their activities and assessment by agricultural extension agents over the farming season and preliminary selections made at the district and regional levels and eventually shortlisted for national honours.

Week-long activities

The exhibition held as part of the activities attracted several exhibitors from the various agric departments who have taken turns to exhibit their products from their respective regions. Fish farmers, agro processing companies and agric machinery manufacturers have displayed their products and wares, some of which have attracted large crowds of people some of whom have demonstrated genuine interest in the items on show.

At the exhibition, each of the regions as part of a side attraction, took turns to display their cultural dance and music, while the regional ministers in various speeches informed the gathering about what they had brought on board for the celebration and also how far their regions had performed in supporting farmers in line with government’s policies.

Farmers Forum

Also, as part of the celebrations, the National Farmers’ Forum was held yesterday.

The forum which had the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, in attendance, has become a key activity heralding every National Farmers Day celebration since 2009 with the ADB being the sole sponsor for the past 10 years.

Since its introduction a decade ago, the forum has become a platform where award winners, policy makers, experts and financiers within the agricultural sector gather to discuss, share experiences and also make proposals to other stakeholders for the betterment of the sector.

Business opportunities

Food vendors and other businesses are taking advantage of the event to cash in on sales. Locally prepared dishes have become a main side attraction at the venue, with long queues of patrons who could not resist the taste of a variety of local delicacies and drinks. Local rice producers have also jumped on the auspicious “Eat Ghana Rice” campaign by strategically getting patrons to taste their locally prepared rice on exhibition.

District, regional events

Simultaneously, similar events will be held at the various districts and across the 16 regions where deserving farmers and fishers will also be honoured.
While there are five awards to be given out at the regional level, seven will be up for grabs at the district level.

The awards at the regional level are: the Best Farmer, the runner-up, second runner-up, Best Fisherman, and Best Agric Extension Agent.

At the district level, each district will honour the Best Farmer, the First Runner-up, the Best Crop Farmer, the Best Fisher Farmer, the Best Livestock Farmer, Best Physically Challenged Farmer and the Best Agricultural Extension Agent.

National awards

The 24 awards to be given out include:

Overall Best Farmer, First runner-up, Second runner-up, National Best Livestock Farmer, Best Crop Farmer, Best Youth Farmer, Best Female Farmer, Best Physically Challenged Farmer.

The others are: Best Agro processor, Best tree crop farmer, Best Fisher, Best Marine Fisher, Best Inland fisher, Best Fish Processor, Best Aquaculturalist, Best Digital Farmer, Best Maize Qualify Farmer, Best Cocoa Farmer, Best Shea Nut Picker and Best Coffee Farmer.

The rest are: Best Second Cycle School in Practical Agriculture, Most Enterprising Female Cocoa Farmer, the Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer and the Best Agriculture Researcher.