By Dennis Peprah
Sunyani, Dec. 02, GNA – Mr Alfred Ofori Annye, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Produce Buying Company (PBC), has praised farmers for their immense contributions towards enhancing national food productivity and security.
He, however, said invasive insects and unpredictable weather patterns resulting from climate change continue to threaten food security, and advocated concerted approach to tackle the challenges proactively.
Mr Ofori Annye gave the commendation in a statement issued to mark this year’s Farmers Day celebration and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani on Friday.
The farmers’ day celebrated on first Friday of December was introduced by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 1988 to honour farmers and fishermen for their efforts in feeding the nation and recognizing the vital contributions of a strong agricultural sector to the prosperity of the Ghanaian economy.
The statement said as government continued to introduce realistic strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change, Ghanaians also ought to be mindful and avoid bad farming practices, as well as indiscriminate felling of trees and illegal mining activities unfriendly to the environment.
It noted that the implementation of the government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs (PfFJs) had not only improved food productivity, but had also created job opportunities for the people, hence the need to strengthen the programme.
“The government’s cocoa farmer’s pension scheme has also inspired and motivated many youths to engage in cocoa farming”, the statement said, adding “just like doctors, nurses, teachers and other public sector workers, the Government is determined to ensure that the socio-economic livelihoods of cocoa farmers are improved too.”
It mentioned that the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme for instance was formulated under the Ghana Cocoa Board Law (PNDC Law 81) in 1984 as a welfare intervention to ensure decent pensions for farmers after retiring from active cocoa farming.
Its implementation delayed for 37 years, until President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo re-launched it on December 1, 2020.
“The overall objective of the scheme is to build more hope in the businesses of the farmer and also give a meaningful future to both the old and the young in the farming sector”, it added.
Describing the introduction of the scheme as laudable, the statement indicated the scheme would provide cocoa farmers robust financial strength and security when they retire from active farm work.
“We are also working on a flexible programme that will enable farmers to access loans to expand their economic activities and enhance their food productivity”, it added.
“As a cocoa farmer-centered company, we are glad to have a day where we can place our cocoa farmers on the pedestal and genuinely recognise and appreciate their sacrifices and commitment for this nation.”
It stated the introduction of the Cocoa Management System being implemented by the COCOBOD had also helped to promote transparency and all-inclusiveness in the production and supply of cocoa.
“This digital management system, among other objectives gathers information of every cocoa farmer, farm size and location, and other bio and occupational data, which have been embodied in a unique identification card used by the farmer in all cocoa transactions,” it explained.
The system further seeks to provide every cocoa farmer with a unique electronic account of which all cocoa sales made by the farmer is recorded, the statement added.
It said the use of technology would help to transform and improve operations in the cocoa sector, adding that the use of Geographic Positioning System in the mapping, location and the measurement of individual cocoa farms would identify the productivity levels of each cocoa farm.
The statement said the scheme sought to register about 800,000 cocoa farmers nationwide.