Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged all governments to move from the period of honouring hardworking farmers with local equipment to equipping them with more mechanised tools if the country has hopes of improving agriculture.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a meeting with some bank heads, Mr Mahama emphasised the importance of farming and the agricultural sector to the growth of the economy and the need to encourage more persons to join the field.
Rather than sticking to the ancient system of gifting farmers with mostly local tools including cutlasses and hoes during Farmer’s Day, he said, there ought to be the introduction of more modernised machinery which will help with more labour but be less stressful.
This, he believes, will attract more of the younger generation to join farming.
” I think we need to look at the prizes that we give and vary them a bit so that they enhance the productivity of the farmers. We still continue to give them cutlasses and all things like that, I believe that the hoe and cutlass agriculture is past so if we can give more of them power tillers and train them how to use them so that agriculture is not like back-breaking work.
“That’s why the youth are not interested in agriculture because if the youth of today you ask them to take hoe and cutlass and farm, they won’t go, but if he knows that agriculture is mechanised and not as backbreaking as our ancestors have been used to, it will attract more young people,” he said.
While acknowledging the hard work of farmers across the country, Mr Mahama also urged that effective measures be put in place to ensure the products of farmers are preserved and transformed into good products with long-life span for exportation, which in turn will improve the economy.
“I salute all Ghanaian farmers, It is quite a risky business and the fact that they continue to dedicate themselves year in and year out to produce not only food for us to eat but to produce products that we are able to export and bring foreign currency in. On this day, we all have to celebrate them,” he said.