In an unprecedented move, Hon. Bryan Acheampong, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, is transforming Ghana’s agricultural landscape, making significant strides in innovation and development. Since assuming his role in February 2023, Hon. Acheampong has been pivotal in reshaping the way agriculture is perceived and practised in the country.
Under his leadership, the most significant day on the agricultural calendar, National Farmers’ Day, witnessed remarkable changes. Breaking away from the traditional cash prize rewards, this year’s celebration included the presentation of plaques and citations to the national winners. This innovative approach will not only honour the hard work of Ghana’s farmers and fishermen, but also instil a sense of pride and accomplishment among them.
Hon. Acheampong’s vision extended beyond mere recognition. He organized an awards dinner, providing a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for the winners, a stark contrast to the usual outdoor durbars. This event was part of the larger Farmers’ Day celebrations, themed “Delivering Smart Solutions for Sustainable Food Security and Resilience,” reflecting Hon. Acheampong’s commitment to sustainable agricultural practices.
In a strategic move, the national celebration was relocated from Accra to Tarkwa in the Western Region, allowing for broader participation across the country. The 39th National Farmers’ Day at the University of Mines and Technology Auditorium crowned Charity Akortia as the 2023 National Best Farmer, along with other distinguished winners.
Hon. Acheampong has also been instrumental in implementing Phase Two of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program. Launched by President Akufo Addo, this initiative aims to boost agricultural productivity, create employment, and reduce food imports. The minister emphasized the need for increased investment in agricultural capacity through enhanced research, extension services, and technology development.
The National Farmers’ Day festival, an annual event since 1985, was extended to a 5-day Agricultural Fair and Grand Durbar under Hon. Acheampong’s tenure. This extension served as a platform for farmers to network, learn about new technologies, and form beneficial partnerships. The Agrifest Ghana 2023 exhibition showcased the agricultural diversity of all 16 regions, offering a glimpse into the country’s rich agricultural heritage.
Regional and district celebrations complemented the national event, with various award categories recognizing the contributions of farmers across Ghana. These celebrations underscored the government’s commitment to acknowledging the vital role of farmers and fishermen in the national economy.
Through Hon. Acheampong’s efforts, significant investments have been pledged to further grow and expand the agricultural sector. The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced a GH¢10 billion investment, marking a new era of agricultural prosperity in Ghana. The participation of 145 companies and organizations in this year’s agricultural festival, displaying a wide range of products and innovations, is a testament to the growing interest and confidence in Ghana’s agricultural sector.
In summary, Hon. Bryan Acheampong’s tenure as Minister for Food and Agriculture has marked a revolutionary period in Ghana’s agricultural history. His innovative approaches, strategic planning, and commitment to sustainable development have not only uplifted the agricultural sector but also set a new benchmark for future initiatives.
Article by Kwame Appiah