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General News of Friday, 6 December 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

‘Hoe and cutlass’ agriculture will keep the youth away – Mahama on Farmer’s Day prizes


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Former President, John Dramani Mahama has urged all governments; incumbent and successive, to move from the period of honoring hardworking farmers with local equipment to equipping them with more mechanized tools if the country has hopes of improving agriculture.

Speaking to media men on the sidelines of a meeting with some bank heads, Mr. Mahama emphasized 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 modernized machinery which will help with more labor but be less stressful.

This he believes, will attract more of the younger generation to join in 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 mechanized 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 the 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.

Further adding,

“We also need to look at how we process more of our products so that we create agro-industry, more people can be employed and we are able to preserve the food products over a longer period than we currently have.



We have gluts, we encourage the farmers to produce, they produce a lot and the next moment, there is too much maize, rice, tomatoes etc. so how do we smoothen all these out, by putting in the necessary processes so that we can take these products of our farmers and make them into useful products that we can sell to our countrymen and be able to feed our country.”

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