21 November 2012

Africa: HIV/Aids Kills 7 Billion Agricultural Workers

Photo: Sarah-Eve Hammond/MSF
Receiving antiretroviral treatment.

Mr. Richson Nii Teye Appeynarh, Chief Executive (DCE) of the newly created Ningo-Prampram District Assembly, has disclosed that from 1985 to date, HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of seven million agricultural workers on the African continent alone.

He continued that it was estimated that the deadly disease could kill an additional 16 million farm workers in the next 20 years, if strong measures are not put in place to deal with the state of affairs.

He has, therefore, appealed to residents in the district to take advantage of the free volunteer services at all the health centers across the district, to know their HIV status, and also to live positively with our affected brothers and sisters.

"The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) annual report estimates that HIV/AIDS has killed seven (7) million agricultural workers/farmers in Africa since 1985, and could kill 16 million more in the next 20 years, if strong measures are not put in place to address the situation.

"Let us all try to know our HIV status and live positively with those affected. I will like to appeal to everybody to patronise the free volunteer service at all health centers in the District," he stated.

Mr. Appeynarh made the disclosure at the maiden District Farmers Day celebration of the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly to honour hard working farmers who have contributed, not only to the betterment of people in the area, but also the entire country.

Mr. Ebenezer Tettey Nartey from Mobole in the district was crowned the Overall Best Farmer. He took home a set of furniture, one knapsack sprayer, a pair of wellington boots, and two cutlasses.

Christiana Sackey, who won the Best Fish Farmer in the district, was awarded with a pair of wellington boots, a fish processor, two big bowls or basins, and one half piece of GTP Wax print.

The district farmer for vegetables, Mr. James Addotsu from Ahwiam, was presented with a knapsack sprayer, a pair of wellington boots and two cutlasses.

The rest of the award winners in the food crop, livestock, fisherman, aquaculture and fire volunteer squad categories, each received a pair of wellington boots, a ghetto blaster and two cutlasses.

Speaking at the function, the Ningo-Prampram DCE assured farmers in the district that his outfit was working very hard to ensure that they were connected to micro finance agencies to make credit facilities accessible to them.

"We will also ensure that agricultural inputs, which include chemicals, are accessible to farmers within the district. The youth in agriculture programme in the district would be given the needed support, and export crop production given the needed boost among other interventions in the agric sector," he explained.

Mr. Appeynarh expressed worry over the lack of appreciation for the use of weighing scales on Ghanaian markets, saying even though the weighing scale was a regular feature on the international market, it was yet to find its place on the Ghanaian market.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Enoch Teye Mensah, commended farmers for their continuous contribution towards the provision of food and fish for people in the area, and the country at large.

According to him, so far, two personalities from the area had won the overall national best farmer award.

He explained that a previous national best farmer in 1999, Mr. Joseph Mensah, originates from Ningo, although he lives and works in the Abura Dunkwa area in the Central Region.

The 2012 National Best Farmer, 38 years old Mr. Martey, who holds a degree in Agriculture Engineering, also hails from Prampram in the Ningo-Prampram District.

"Several other farmers from the constituency have also won awards at the regional and district levels of the best farmer competition.

"All what it means, ladies and gentlemen, is that farmers in the Ningo-Prampram area are simply too good," E. T. Mensah, who is also the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing observed.

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