The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah has urged city dwellers to engage in backyard farming due to the unavailability of land space to promote agriculture in the city.
Mr Sowah made the call in an address at the 35th edition of the Farmers and fishermen’s day celebration held at the forecourt of the city hall on Friday.
“As a result of urbanization, a lot of people have moved into the city to put up structures reducing the availability of land for agricultural purposes as such our Agric department is promoting backyard farming, livestock rearing among others. So I urge city dwellers to support this drive, to promote agriculture in the city, ” he said.
“Encouraging backyard farming, livestock and fisheries is where we have a competitive advantage so let’s capitalise on that," he emphasised.
He expressed government’s commitment to support fisherfolks in the region adding that, President Akufo-Addo, through the Ministry of Fisheries, the Coastal Development Authority, the Agricultural Development Bank and CFAO, recently presented some 6,336 outboard motors and other fishing equipment to fisherfolk along the coast, and continuous to subsidies the Premix fuel to fisherfolks.
He disclosed that the construction of the James Town Fishing Harbour would commence by February 2020, adding that, all feasibility studies had been successfully completed.
He noted that the Assembly had encouraged vegetable farming in Accra which is a source of some vegetables and like lettuce, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, pepper, and other useful herbs that hit Accra’s major market.
The AMA Boss said the AMA is currently wooing investors to enter into food processing in order to reduce the post-harvest losses and boost food security in Accra.
The Mayor congratulated and thanked all the award winners for their effort to help in the development of the country and assured them of the assembly’s support.
“Let me thank all the award winners for what you have done for this country and assure you of our continuous support that, come next year, the prizes are going to be much different and you will be very much happy that you chose a vocation in farming”, Mr Adjei Sowah said.
The Metropolitan Director of Agriculture, Dr Charles Edem Etse, in a welcome address, said his department has trained staff to help reduce all the technical challenges along the agricultural value chain.
“In an effort to overcome the challenge of loss of fertile farmlands due to urbanization, the Department of Agriculture has assisted a number of households to establish home gardens. Several inhabitants are now eating what they themselves have grown in their backyards. The days of “operation feed yourself” are back here with us again in Accra. As we continue to intensify our efforts at encouraging a lot more people to utilise their backyards productively, ” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Oblite, a 45-year old man with 30 years experience in fishing, was adjudged the overall best farmer in metropolis and was given a Motor King tricycle, a smart tv set, cutlasses, four pairs of gloves and three pairs of Wellington boots.
The award for the best institution went to St Mary’s SHS at Korle-Gonno. They were presented with a poly tank, water hose, cutlasses, Knapsack sprayer, pairs of gloves, pairs of Wellington boots and nose masks.
Mr Simon Ayivor was awarded the best Backyard farmer in the city while the best Poly Fisherman prize went to Mr Benjamin Ahene Quarcoe from Jamestown.
Best Hook and Line fisherman also went to Mr James Kwaku Prah from Jamestown with Mrs Sarah Quansah from Chorkor emerging the best fish processor.
All three were awarded a chest freezer each (600 litres), four pairs of gloves, three pairs of Wellington boots and cutlasses.
Other winners were, Mr Ransford Wiafe Danquah, Best Agro processor, Mr Issah Abdul Rahman, Best crop farmer, Madam Regina Dougblor, Best livestock farmer and Kwasia Dwaso market, best-organised group.