Hohoe Municipal Best Farmer, Mr. Emmanuel Ababio, on Friday said access to agricultural incentives including loans and chemicals were difficult for farmers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said although there were loans available, the interest rates were high, hence the had to fall on family and friends to sustain production.

Mr. Ababio, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the side-lines of the Farmers Day celebration, appealed to government to intervene and support farmers with incentives through the Agricultural Ministry with access to loans at lower rates. 

He said farmers could also be supported before the dry season to equip them to save their farms from bush fires and also help those whose farms might be destroyed by fires. 

He said the incident of rampant bushfires was destroying farms, property, and threatens food security. He appealed to the public to avoid indiscriminate and careless activities that would cause fires. 

He urged Assembly members to begin community engagements to avert bushfires in the Municipality. 

Mr. Ababio also urged the youth to endeavour to engage in farming whether employed or unemployed adding:

“Youth in agriculture is excellence, farming pays.”   

He received a radio set, certificate, deep freezer, and a knapsack sprayer as his prize.   

Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Andrews Teddy Ofori, commended farmers and fishermen within the Municipality for tirelessly producing enough to feed citizens adding that the New Patriotic Party-led government would always support them to continue to produce more. 

“You will all agree with me that the NPP government’s achievements in the agricultural sector to grow more food for our people produce raw materials for local industry consumption and export have been tremendous.”

Mr. Ofori also called on the people to conduct all campaign activities in a peaceful manner to avoid violence ahead of the December polls.   

Hohoe Municipal Director of Agriculture, Madam Sandra Ofori, said the celebration emphasised the need to focus on the development of Agribusiness as a response to trigger development during the pandemic while feeding households as well as the nation. 

“The Covid-19 has presented a lot of challenges in the agricultural sector, especially in extension delivery. The weekly meetings between field staff and farmers has to be reduced and increase the use of communication technologies such as phones.”   

She said the Directorate has established 24 maize and four home garden sites, 16 rice and livestock demonstrations across the Municipality including demonstrations on food processing like fortified gari numeric as well as food processing techniques.   

Madam Ofori noted that more than 75 percent of people in the area are involved in agriculture, both as commercial and subsistence.   

“A lot of agribusinesses are springing up within the Municipality and some of them are exporting their produce outside the country. In all, the socio-economic development of the Municipality is heavily dependent on agricultural activities including processing and the need for more attention on agriculture.”   

The Divisional Chief of Gbi-Atabu, Togbe Adzofuwusu, said farmers’ contribution to food security could not be underestimated, and notwithstanding the effects of the Covid-19, farmers were relentless in production to feed households and nations.

Mr Clemence Yaw Atta from Likpe Kukurantumi, received the-best Physically Challenged Farmer Award, Madam Rebecca Mensah, received the Municipal Best Processor, and Madam Martha Gamor, took the Municipal Best Agriculture Worker.   

Consolation prizes; Knapsack sprayers, a set of wellington boots and cutlasses were also given to five farmers from the area.    The 36th National Farmers’ Day is on the theme: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19; Opportunities and Challenges.”