Dec 01 , 2017 , 08:17 BY: Daily Graphic
Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture and Mr. Edward Kareweh, General Secretary of GAWU.
The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) has asked the government to rethink the celebration of Farmers Day as a public holiday in the country. The union said the holiday did not benefit farmers and only cost the country millions of cedis and loss of productivity.
A release issued by GAWU in Accra on Thursday said the holiday did not benefit farmers who knew when to rest, and would do so at their own convenience, cognisance of their work demands than per a statute or legislation.
“The public holiday does not add or do anything to ease the numerous challenges confronting farmers. It is GAWU’s request that the government abolishes the Farmers Day holiday and uses the money generated on that day to support agriculture,” it said.
GAWU said in the quest to improve upon agricultural productivity and create jobs, action must be taken to eliminate both institutional and practical wastage in the sector, while a comprehensive review of the Farmers Day celebration should be carried out to move away from its ritualistic nature and align it to more radicalised, revolutionary and pragmatic national policies.
The theme for this year’s event is, “Farming for Food and Jobs.” The union said given the requisite attention and support, the hardworking farmers in Ghana could and would in fact be able to produce to meet local demand and for export.
“Growth can only be attained by a strong pro-agriculture approach driven by productivity growth and associated public investments and market access. This approach can revolutionise rural Ghana and change the face of poverty in the country,” it said.
GAWU alleged that the Plant Breeder’s Bill, currently before Parliament, would pave the way for the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and resources, including GMO seeds and other planting materials.
The release said the Bill, if passed into law in its current form, would undermine smallholder access and control of seed and planting materials, threaten indigenous food systems and production practices and put the health of consumers in danger with severe consequences for the development of the country.
“GAWU is also worried that the government’s unbridled importation of seed for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme has a high chance of introducing GMO seeds into the country,” the release signed by the General Secretary of GAWU, Mr Edward Kareweh, said.