Minister of Food and Agriculture, Fiifi Kwettey has charged Ghanaians to see agriculture as a sustainable form of employment and a profitable business venture once the potential is harnessed effectively.
As the country celebrates Farmers’ Day today, the minister said farmers, interest groups and citizens in general should discard the mindset where agriculture is regarded as a non-profitable venture.
Speaking to Joy News, the minister said “the major aspect has to do with the need for a mindset change, the way we as a country view that sector and the way people who are within that sector see themselves”.
He said as long as farmers continue to see themselves as peasant, poor, uneducated and do not understand that what they have are businesses, the country will continue to have challenges no matter what is done to help the sector.
Meanwhile, Government has been challenged to back its call on Ghanaians to consume locally produced foods with increased investment in the sector.
The nation in 2013 alone spent US$374million on rice importation and US$169 million on poultry importation despite increased production of both products locally.
This is mainly because consumers claim foreign products taste better and are cheaper than the locally produced ones.
But the farmers blame the lack of government support for their uncompetitiveness.
David Asare Asiama, manager of Agromindset Farms in Kumasi said policies are not proactive towards farmers and governments over the years have not delivered their promises to farmers. According to him, the situation has made it difficult for farmers to grow.
Minority ranking member on Parliament’s Food and Agric Committee, Akoto Owusu-Afriyie, has asked government to provide more support for the industry and that “this whole flood of food imports into the country must be stopped”.
Dr Owusu-Afriyie said as the population is increasing, demand for food is also increasing, therefore with the right support from government, farmers will be able to provide enough food to feed people in the country and export the excess.
He said more extension officers should be deployed into farming communities to educate farmers.
source : myjoyonline.com