National Farmers Day is an annual celebration of farmers and fishermen in several countries across the world. In Ghana, the celebration which honours farmers and fishermen is observed on the first Friday of December. In such times where there would be elections, the celebration of farmers day is observed on the first Friday of November.
In Ghana, Agriculture is believed to be the backbone of the nation as well as the most sufficient industry to draw Ghana out of the myriad of problems it faces. Agriculture in Ghana has been essential to the nation employing about half of the total labour force and also contributing about one-fourth of the Nations GDP.
HISTORY OF FARMERS DAY
In 1985, the Government of Ghana ; The Provisional National Defense Council created the first ever National Farmers Day.
The creation of the eventful day which is till now celebrated took inspiration and need from a great drought the country experienced in the early 1980’s as a result of bushfires which destroyed several cocoa and other farms and also had a bad effect on soil and its organisms. Farmers, individuals and the government went through great strife trying to find interim solutions to the situation.
By 1984, a National Mobilisation Squad (Mobisquad) was established under the National Mobilisation Programme (NMP) chaired by Mr. Commodore Steve Obimpeh whose efforts together with farmers and fishermen saw to a 30% growth in the agricultural sector by dint of hard work. This was such impressive growth as the drought that befell the nation was one that many countries had never experienced.
Ghana’s administration at the time decided to hold a farmers day celebration every first Friday of December to honour and reward farmers and fishermen who contributed immensely to the growth in agriculture.
The 1985 National Farmers day was observed in Osino in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Location was strategically chosen because Osino was the most affected area during the drought period.
The national Best farmer in 1985 received a preset radio, wellington boots and machetes as award. Over the years the awards have grown more competitive. The most expensive award arguably till date is a three bedroom house.
Farmers day has been held in different Regions since 1985 and this year’s celebration was held at Cape Coast in the Central Region under the theme Planting for Food and Jobs – Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana.
With all the interventions put in place since the PNDC era, agriculture in Ghana still faces many challenges which include poor infrastructure, lack of attention to irrigation development, high transport costs, poor roads to farms, land acquisition and tenure issues, social and environmental problems such as climate change, access to funds, lack of interest among youth and lack of support systems.