The 38th National Farmer’s Day Celebration has been officially opened with an Agric Fair in the Eastern Region capital, Koforidua.

Vendors in all sectors of the agricultural chain are expected to display their produce and products for sale for the one-week Fair. The National Farmer’s Day Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on Friday, December 2.

Eastern Region Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, who spoke at the opening ceremony, touted the enormous contribution from the region to the national basket.

He pointed out  that the Eastern Region tops in production of cassava, second in maize, third in plantain and fourth in yam.

“Eastern Region is endowed with a unique diversity in terms of the agro-ecological zones, and vegetation and also contributes greatly to the food basket of the nation. The region grows almost all the staple crops in commercial quantities.”

“It will interest you to know that over the past four years, the Region has been the leading producer of Cassava, second in the production of maize, third and fourth in Plantain and Yam, respectively. It is, therefore, not out of place for the region to host the [National Farmer’s] Day, instituted to recognize and honour the tireless efforts of farmers who continue to feed our growing population, providing raw materials for industries and contributing substantially to our nation’s foreign exchange earnings and job creation.”

The Deputy Minister in charge of Fisheries, Moses Anim, emphasised sustainable value addition was imperative.

This year’s National Farmer’s Day’s theme is: ‘Accelerating agriculture development through value addition’.

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, noted that significant investment in agriculture is critical to assure sustainable food systems that ensure food security, raw material for industry and increase in rural incomes.

He added that to sustain the gains made under the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), there was the need to strengthen the implementation, efficiency and effectiveness and focus on value addition.

“To sustain the gains made under the PFJ and accelerate growth, the next step is to strengthen the implementation, efficiency and effectiveness of these interventions, and to focus on value addition and knowledge sharing of successes chalked over the years.”

“The fair will thus help farmers and investors explore business opportunities to inform decision making. As a boost to agricultural transformation, I recommend that the
Regions organise such fairs at least twice a year as part of ensuring regular engagement among agriculture value chain actors and promoting investments.”

The Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Nana Kweku Boateng, advocated the need for more skill empowerment for farmers to expose them to new innovative ideas for value addition.