Read below the congratulatory message to President-Elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana
The Board and Members of the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) representing a network of small holder farmer organisations in Ghana, wishes to congratulate the President elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the elected members of Parliament and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on emerging victorious in the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. The Association also congratulates the outgoing President, John Dramani Mahama for his magnanimity in conceding defeat. The Electoral Commission and indeed, all Ghanaians deserve commendation for ensuring a peaceful election.
To the President elect Nana Akufo-Addo, your victory has come at a time that agriculture transformation in Ghana is at a crossroads and hence the need for a committed leader with focus on agriculture, especially small holder agriculture. The local agriculture sector is experiencing a decline in growth partly due to inadequate investment in the sector, changes in weather as result of climate change and a corresponding low incomes for producers. It is the hope of PFAG that you will address these challenges and bring agriculture to the next level and beyond as envisioned in your 2016 Manifesto.
Your Excellency, on the eve of the last elections, PFAG analysed the manifestoes of the various political parties, especially those of your party and the NDC, which we scored and issued a statement to that effect. This exercise was to help our members and small holder farmers make informed choices at the just ended polls. The choice has fallen on you and your party and PFAG is hopeful that you will deliver accordingly in the next four years on the mandate given you.
Peasant farmers note with satisfaction your visionary promise of “ONE VILLAGE ONE DAM”, especially in Northern Ghana; the establishment of agroindustry/factories in every district in Ghana based on the raw materials available in those districts; setting up a fertilizer factory in Western Region, provision of input subsidies and pursuance of an aggressive industrialization and value-addition to agricultural production; rehabilitation of the existing public irrigation schemes, including the abandoned Vea Irrigation project; the Afram Plains Irrigation and Irrigations in the Northern Savannah. We believe these are all laudable and achievable.
We recognise that you are yet to take office but your Excellency, we are constrained to remind you that the declining number of agricultural extension officers in the country is worrying as it is affecting farmers’ access to, and use of, technology in support of agricultural modernization. The promise in your manifesto to work to achieve the UN-recommended ratio of one extension officer to 500 farmers, with emphasis on recruiting female extension officers is particularly exciting news for us as it will go a long way to increase technology dissemination and uptake.
The conflict between “Fulani” Herdsmen and peasant farmers across many parts of the country in the past has led to loss of lives, property, farms and pollution of water bodies. We call on your government to consult widely and formulate policies that will regulate the activities of nomadic herdsmen to ensure there is peaceful co-existence between crop farmers and livestock farmers specifically the “Fulani” herdsmen.
Lastly, we wish to remind elected members of Parliament of the weaknesses identified with the Ghana Plant Breeders Bill (PBB) that compelled the outgoing Parliament to halt its passage for further consultation. The Plant Breeders Bill in its current form is not small holder farmer friendly as it denies the farmer’s seed rights and is skewed towards foreign multi- national corporate take-over of our local seed industry. PFAG leading the Food Sovereignty Platform calls on the new Parliament to do proper consultation and formulate Plant Breeders law that will protect the Ghanaian scientist, Ghanaian Seed growers and farmers.
Your Excellency, the President elect and the elected honourable Members of Parliament, whiles PFAG congratulates you for your victory and wishes you well as you take over the leadership of governance on January 7th, the Association and its members assure you of peasant farmers’ readiness to collaborate and work with you to ensure vibrant agricultural sector in Ghana. The Association wishes to encourage you to let the NPP 2016 manifesto promises on the agricultural sector be the guide for agricultural development; for it is the bases for the massive support from farmers and it will be the indicator farmers will use to monitor and score your government’s performance and subsequent re-election or otherwise come 2020.
PFAG wishes you good health and God’s guidance as you take over the leadership of our beloved country. God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.
The National President – Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana
Abdul- Rahman Mohammed