President John Mahama nearly missed the national Farmers’ day celebration yesterday as the Falcon 900 eX Presidential Jet on which he was scheduled to travel to Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region via Kumasi developed a technical problem.
That was just after the President had finished a prayer meeting with some pastors, including internationally acclaimed T.D. Jakes and Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams of Christian Action Chapel International.
Mr Mahama and his entourage were supposed to leave Accra in the early hours of yesterday for Kumasi with the plane and continue to Sefwi Wiawso by road to grace the occasion and honour farmers who had excelled in their respective areas of operation this year.
Due to a technical hitch, the plane could not make the journey and another flight had to be arranged for the President and his retinue to go.
The programme, which was under the theme, ‘Eat What You Grow’, was originally scheduled to begin at 10:00 am, but the presidential team arrived at about 1:00 pm and had to apologise to the gathering.
The President explained the reason for his late arrival at the venue saying, “We had a technical problem with the plane that we were coming with.”
Due to the incident, he indicated that he and his entourage had to “disembark and wait till another plane was secured to bring us.”
Angry Farmers DAILY GUIDE gathered that majority of farmers and fishermen who thronged the Sefwi Wiawso College of Education park for the event were disappointed.
Most of the farmers were not happy at the late start of the programme.
President Mahama commended the farmers for their contributions towards national development.
George Asamoah Amankwah of Europa Farms in the Brong-Ahafo Region was adjudged the National Best Farmer for 2014.
The 49-year-old father of three has been farming for 17 years now. Amankwah has a 129- acre maize farm, 6,800-acre cocoa plantation, 20-acre pepper and okra farm,6,000-acre plantain farm, a 20-acre oil palm plantation, 147 cattle and three fish ponds in which he breeds catfish and tilapia.
He has 22 staff and 50 casual workers. In his acceptance speech, Mr Amankwah expressed appreciation for the honour bestowed on him.
He called on government to consider outsourcing the tree planting component
of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) programme
to private people as the private sector, he observed, had shown the
capacity to do a better job over the years.
The National Best Farmer will have as his prize, a three-bedroom fully furnished house sponsored by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and a pick-up vehicle, among other things.
In all, 74 farmers and fishers were honoured for their outstanding contribution to the economy.
Prior to last Friday’s event, the nominees visited some institutions in the Western Region, including the Takoradi Port.
At the port, Capt James Koranteng, the Acting Managing Director of the port, said there was dignity in farming and appealed to farmers not to relent in their efforts at producing to sustain the local economy.
The farmers also visited the Regional House of Chiefs where they interacted with the chiefs, headed by Osagyefo Dr Kwamina Ennimil IV.
From the house of chiefs the farmers went to the Naval Base at Sekondi for a sea trip.
The award winning farmers later visited the Takoradi Thermal Plant.
The Falcon 900 EX Presidential Jet, the purchase by the erstwhile Kufuor administration of which engendered much debate and widely condemned by the National Democratic Congress (NDC)—then in opposition—arrived in the country in August 2010, almost two years after the NDC assumed power.
It came to replace the 37-year-old Fokker 28 aircraft famously described as the “flying coffin” which was used by former President Rawlings.
The National Farmers’ Day celebration, which was instituted in 1985, is aimed at recognising and rewarding hardworking farmers for their contribution to national development.
Government has since 1988 set aside every first Friday in December as a national holiday to honour the nation’s gallant farmers.
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana