Kpando District’s Farmer’s Day
On the 18th of December, Kpando District held their annual Farmer’s Day. Like the national version of this holiday, Farmer’s Day is a day dedicated to showing the appreciation for the farming and fishing industries, recognizing individuals who have had great success in their farming and fishing ventures, and expressing areas of needed improvement within the industry as a whole.
The event commenced with the entrance of high-level figures: government officials, ministry directors, and traditional chiefs each followed by their respective staffs and support systems. Throughout the day, music served as intermission entertainment accompanying traditional group singing and dancing. Occasionally, individuals walked around providing small demonstrations including a man “made” of leaves and a woman weaving thread from cotton. Food grown by the prized farmers was on exhibition for crowd viewing.
The theme of this year’s farmer’s day was “Reducing post harvest losses for sustainable food security and nutrition.” The issue was voiced as a major concern for the industry on both a local and national level and speaks to the difficulty farmer’s face with regard to maximizing not only the amount of a crop that is able to be harvested, but that which is also adequately preserved. Reasons for losing crops after harvest include: insects, rodents, rotting, and failure to use proper methods of preservation.
The Director of the Ministry of Farming and Agriculture mentioned the value of farmers attending monthly farmer’s meetings. These meetings serve as an opportunity to continue agricultural methods education and to learn best practices from each other’s successes. She focused on the importance of record keeping as a way to maximize crop growth, ameliorate post-harvest lost and aid in planning for future harvests specifically with regard to finances.
The day came to an end with the presentation of prizes to the district’s best farmers. New machetes were given to all of those who received honorable mentions. Larger prizes were given to the most successful farmers. Depending on the award won (usually for a single crop), prizes consisted of: fertilizer, ammonia, herbicide, and equipment (shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.). The largest prize was awarded to the “best overall farmer”- an individual who exhibited excellence in leadership, success in growing multiple crops, consistent use of best practices and the maintenance of an overall “pleasant” attitude. In addition to the prizes mentioned above, this farmer was also presented with a new motorbike!
Experiencing Farmer’s Day in Kpando was truly a unique experience-the traditional nature of the entire ceremony speaks to the authentic nature of this community. The appreciation shown to the individuals (both men and women) who are responsible for the food industry in both Kpando and all of Ghana was expressed as ‘necessary’ and ‘due’. Not only do these individuals provide food and nutrition to their local people, they support the health and success of the entire population.
This holiday season (whatever you may celebrate) please raise your glasses (of whatever you may choose) and make a toast to farmer’s everywhere, remembering that the food we eat and the food we share in fact was grown by someone, somewhere.