In Ghana, several activities take place throughout the year. One of the most notable is the award ceremony that recognizes the best farmers and fishermen. The first Ghana Farmer’s Day was marked in 1985. It was instituted by the Provisional National Defense Council, which, at the time, was in charge of Ghana’s administration.
Earlier, the country had suffered from severe droughts in the early 1980s, which impacted crop yields. The situation led the people of Ghana to face starvation and malnutrition. Economically, the country’s G.D.P. also suffered significantly. The drought ended in 1984 and the country slowly recovered, recording a 30% growth in the industry. The fisheries also flourished at the time of the recovery. The National Farmers and Fishermen Awards is purposed to acknowledge the contribution and plight of Ghanaian farmers and fish farmers.
The national Farmer’s Day event is held on every first Friday of December. However, in an election year, the day is moved to the first Friday of November. The maiden event was held in Osino, a town in the Eastern region of Ghana. Osino was chosen as the prime location because it had been affected by the droughts the most severely. The subsequent years have seen celebrations held in other locations that were also negatively impacted.
The judging categories for the awards include technological use, husbandry, and ecological awareness. Selected judges note and track all the registered participants’ progress throughout the year. The first-ever winner of the award was given a radio, a pair of Wellington boots, and machetes. As the years passed, the awards have increased in value to include cash prizes and a three-bedroom house.
Mr. Philip Abayori is a Ghanaian veteran fish farmer and part of the early winners of the National Farmers and Fishermen Awards. He was adjudged second National Best Farmer of Ghana in 1989. He is President of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners and Doubles as President of the Local Fishermen's Association of Ghana.
Philip Abayori owned a fish farm in Tono, in the Upper East Region. At the time, he had two constructed ponds of 630m.sq. and 564m. sq. respectively. The ponds were stocked with O. niloticus supplied by the ICOUR fish farm at Tono. O. niloticus (Nile tilapia), is a cichlid freshwater fish native to northern parts of Africa and the southwestern Middle East, though widely introduced elsewhere. It is one of the world’s most important food fishes and the fourth most important species in global aquaculture production by weight.
Fish farming has been a major activity in Tono. Since it was rehabilitated, the Tono Dam serves three purposes; its original mandate of irrigation for all-year-round farming, fish farming, and domestic water supply which seeks to solve the acute water shortage problem of the region. Farm-raised fish in Tono has been touted as “palatable” by Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister. “If you want tilapia, go to Tono, there’s fresh tilapia from our own waters. So please, come and try the taste of Tono tilapia,” he said. By inviting investors to the Upper East Region to taste Tono tilapia, the market of farmed fish in the region will be boomed. This will ultimately lead to an improvement in the lives of fish farmers in Tono and other parts of the country.
Information from https://nationaltoday.com/ghana-farmers-day/, https://www.a1radioonline.com/59059/come-buy-tilapia-from-upper-east-region-regional-minister-woos-visitors-investors/index.html, https://www.fao.org/3/ac111e/AC111E10.htm, https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/10.1079/cabicompendium.72086 was used in this story