Sunday, August 10, 2008

BEST FARMER RETURNS HOME (PAGE 20)

THE 2007 National Best Farmer, Alhaji Abdul Salam Akate, has returned from the Royal Agriculture Show in Coventry, England, with a call on the country to take up mechanised farming with all seriousness if the mission to achieve national food security is to be achieved.
He noted that agriculture had become scientific and the nation could no longer afford to keep to the old system of doing things.
The national best farmer, who spoke to the Daily Graphic in Kumasi on his return from the agricultural show, said there was no justification for the nation to be affected by the world food crisis when all the opportunities existed for the country to exploit to its advantage to make food available all year round.
Alhaji Akate, therefore, challenged policy makers to come up with pragmatic policies that could turn things round.
The best farmer was at the four-day Royal Agriculture Show as part of his prize for winning the 2007 National Best Farmer award.
“We have paid lip-service to agriculture for far too long and we need to take proactive measures to address the lapses in the sector,” Alhaji Akate said.
He pointed out that the time had come for the nation to come up with a national policy on agriculture to guide current and future governments on their initiatives towards agriculture.
The best farmer questioned why the nation should have to import food when it was all clear that it could even export food if the right policies were put in place.
Alhaji Akate stated that if food became cheaper, the pockets of the ordinary people would improve because they would be spending less from their incomes on food.
He said nations that had achieved much success in agriculture took irrigation seriously.
“Regrettably, however, Ghana’s agriculture continues to be rain-fed, a situation which has contributed to the slow development of the sector,” Alhaji Akate stated.
“If we do not move for a positive change, we will continue to play into the hands of the advanced countries,” the best farmer stressed.
He described his participation in the Royal Agriculture Show as worthy experience and said he would share his experience with other farmers so that together they play their part effectively in ensuring that Ghana reached the top in agricultural development.
Alhaji Akate said he was entering into serious mechanised farming this year and that a large tract of land had been acquired at Amantin in the Brong Ahafo Region to that effect.

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