AG Elsewhere – Africa

By Tiffany Thompson

On the first Friday of every December, farmers and leaders in the agriculture industry throughout Ghana gather to celebrate Farmers’ Day. This national holiday, dating back to 1985, recognizes the hard work of farmers and the importance of the agriculture industry to the country’s economy and growth. On Farmers’ Day, industry leaders network, exhibit agricultural advancements and discuss issues and improvements that can be made. Each district also awards the “Best Farmer” based on their contributions, records and production.

Through my role as an extension agent, I am working closely with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), meaning I will get to experience the celebrations first-hand. While I am excited to meet farmers through the field work I do with MOFA and see the festivities unfold come December, not all parts of this job appeared thrilling at first. Of the three components of being an AgriCorps Fellow- agriculture teacher, 4-H advisor and extension agent—extension work seemed to be the most intimidating. My agricultural background is in livestock production, and I had almost no knowledge of local crops prior to beginning my fellowship, so I figured I wouldn’t be much help to farmers here who primarily specialize in growing vegetables.

I discovered quickly, however, that extension work is a part of my job that I really enjoy. Hearing the stories of both new farmers and people who have been farming for more than 30 years has been intriguing and inspiring.

I’ve met farmers growing mushrooms, cabbage, squash, green beans, plantains, and cocoa. I’ve seen the ingenuity behind a man who single-handedly built a climate-controlled room to increase specialty crop production.

To read more pick up a copy of the December 2018 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.