Ghana–– Odomase – Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister on Friday called on farmers to help promote peace during Election 2012.
He made the call at the 28th Brong-Ahafo Regional Farmers Day celebration at Odomase, near Sunyani on the theme Grow More Food, Strengthening for Market place Bargaining Power.
Sixty-three farmers were awarded with bicycles, cloth, Wellington boots, spraying machines, cutlasses and soap.
Mr Zakari Atanga of Kobedi Number One, who was adjudged the Best Regional Farmer, took home a corn mill, a piece of cloth, cutlass, and soap.
Mr Nyamekye-Marfo observed that Ghana belonged to the citizenry and not any political party, therefore there was the need to unite in peace.
He asked the farmers to advise their children and the people in their communities against vices which could instigate violence to derail the prevailing peace in the country.
It is only when there is peace that farmers could go to their farms to support their families, he added.
On bushfires, Mr Nyamekye-Marfo advised the public to desist from setting fire in the bush to destroy farms and the vegetation during hunting and burning of charcoal.
He said fire volunteers would be well resourced this year, to encourage them to help in the fight against bushfires in the Region.
Mr Kwabena Taah Korang, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) of the Ghana Fire Service said the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) recorded 129 bushfires between January and April this year, as compared to 53 bushfires in 2011.
Mr Korang, who is the Second-in-Command for Brong-Ahafo Region, said fire destroyed properties worth GH¢ 700, 000 with 12 deaths, while four forest reserves and four forest plantation were destroyed.
He appealed for more resources for fire volunteers to improve their performance and urged the public to appreciate their efforts in the prevention of bushfires.
In the Atebubu-Amanten District, 23 farmers were honoured at the celebration held at Watro, a farming community.
Mr Sanja Nanja, Atebubu-Amanten District Chief Executive said 600 farmers had been supported with improved maize seeds, fertilizer and tractor services under the SADA Africa connection for maize production in the district.
He said the assistance covered 550 hectares and that government would continue to subsidize the cost of fertilizer and other farming inputs for farmers.
Mr Nanja said government would continue to embark on the Root and Tuber Improvement Programme, block farming and other programmes to benefit framers, adding that, 320 farmers in the district had benefited from such programmes.
He said farmers at Sampa, Mem, Nwonnwam, Duabone Number One and Abotreye had benefited from the Commercial Feed Yam Programme this year.
Mr Nanja reiterated governments commitment to ensuring that potential investments in agriculture would be encouraged for municipal and district assemblies to establish agro-processing industries, which had the potential to attract the unemployment youth into farming.
He appealed to the youth in the district to desist from migrating to urban areas, which had been a major cause of low productivity in the country.
Mr Wilfred Anonabaga, Atebubu-Amanten District Director of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) advised the farmers to see agriculture as a business, which emphasised the theme for this years celebration.
He said MOFA had re-awakened farmers on the need to be self-reliant and forge a united front in their activities.
Mr Anonabaga said that would strengthen their efforts to improve on their livelihood, and increase their income.
Twenty-three farmers were honoured in the district with 39-year-old Anthony Kofi Bonna, being adjudged as the overall best farmer.
He was presented with a motorbike (Tricycle), Wellington boots, two machetes, a knapsack, radio cassette player and a packet of roofing sheets.
Mr Bonna cultivated 14 acres of maize, six acres of yam, six acres of cassava, 24 acres of rice, two acres of mango as well as breeding 20 pigeons, 40 cattle and 23 local fowls.
A 56-year-old farmer, Mr Issaka Widani at Abesim was adjudged the overall best farmer in the Sunyani Municipality.
He received a motorbike, radio cassette player, spraying machine, cutlasses, Wellington boots and a citation.
Mr Paul Awentarega, a farmer from Yawhima was adjudged second best farmer and took home a refrigerator, wax prints, Wellington boots, cutlasses, bicycle, a coloured television set and a spraying machine.
Twenty-six other farmers were honoured for their contribution to national food security.
Mr Kwasi Oppong Ababio, Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive emphasised that agriculture continued to be a major contributor to Ghanas economy as 28.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was from the sector.
He said government would continue to intensify and expand the youth-in-agriculture programme through the supply of farm inputs and equipment, such as improved seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, irrigational equipment and tractors at subsidized prices.
In addition, government would improve the mass cocoa spraying exercise and create avenues for increased research in the agriculture sector.
Barima Kumi Acheaw, Chief of Abesim commended government for the celebration of the Day and advised farmers to engage the services of agricultural extension officers to increase food production.