President John Dramani Mahama has said the country was on the right path towards socio-economic prosperity.
He said it was untrue that the agricultural sector was in decline and that the sector has witnessed healthy growth and development under his administration.
The President said because of the huge investment made in the sector; the country would become the net exporter of rice in West Africa by 2020.
President Mahama was addressing a durbar to mark the 2016 National Farmers’ Day celebration at Kintampo in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
Eighty award winners and several deserving farmers received prizes ranging from tractors, combined harvesters, refrigerators, spraying machines, motorbikes and tricycles and several agriculture inputs and logistics.
The event was held under the theme: “Agriculture: a business response to economic growth”.
President Mahama said the agricultural sector constituted a critical component of long-term prosperity of the nation and the huge investment made by the government was yielding positive results.
He said figures from the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) showed that the agricultural sector grew by 2.5 percent in 2015, adding that the performance of the sector was outstanding in 2016.
President Mahama said the sector grew from 3.8 percent in the first quarter of the year to 4.1 percent in the second quarter.
He said his government has worked out the needed modalities to propel Ghana to become the food basket of the West-African Sub-region not only to feed her people but export more agricultural produce.
President Mahama said all these achievements were made through the tremendous contributions and support from some key development partners like the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
He said the agriculture sector requires massive infrastructural investment for long-term sustainable development, hence the investment being made by his government.
President Mahama said there is the need to build intensive cooperation between small and large scale farmers, improved on road infrastructure and electricity to bridge the gap between the urban and rural dwellers to reduce rural-urban migration.
He said much effort was required from all stakeholders for small-scale farmers to shift from the old ways of farming and be supported to engage in commercial farming.
President Mahama said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) had set up Agri-business Unit and also established Farmers’ Service Centres across the country to give particularly technical support to farmers.
He said 10 tractors and combined harvesters for food crops had been made available at the centres and farmers were being encouraged to register so that in every crop season they (farmers) would provide their work plan to get the necessary technical and logistical support.