The regional representative of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) for West Africa, Dr. Jean Baptiste has praised the indomitable spirit of African farmers for their unwavering commitment, resilience and dedication to producing food for the population.
Baptiste expressed his admiration in a speech delivered during the celebration of the 2023 National Farmer’s Day in Abuja recently. “On this National Farmers Day celebration, I salute the courage of our farmers. Let us continue to cherish, support, and celebrate our farmers not only today but every day. Together, we can build a future where agriculture flourishes, and our farmers stand tall, nurturing the soil and feeding the world.”
He emphasised that National Farmer’s Day is a source of pride and an opportunity to appreciate and renew commitments to the well-being of farmers.
“We gather here to celebrate the incredible contributions and hard work of our farmers on this auspicious occasion of National Farmers Day. It is a day to honour the backbone of our society, the men and women who toil tirelessly to feed our nation and sustain our agricultural heritage.
“Farmers’ unwavering dedication and relentless efforts play an instrumental role in ensuring food security, not just for our nation but for the world at large. Through their commitment and resilience, they provide sustenance and nourishment to millions of people, and for that, we are truly indebted to them.”
Baptiste also acknowledged the challenges faced by farmers. “Let us take a moment to reflect on the challenges faced by our farmers. The agricultural sector has always been subject to numerous uncertainties and adversities, be its unpredictable weather patterns, pests, diseases, or market fluctuations. However, despite these hurdles, our farmers have consistently risen to the occasion, adapting to changing circumstances and embracing innovative practices to ensure a bountiful harvest.
“Our farmers have not only excelled in traditional farming methods but have also embraced modern technology and sustainable practices. By integrating advancements such as biotechnology in agriculture, they are not only increasing productivity but also minimizing environmental impact. Their commitment to sustainable agriculture sets an exemplary standard for the entire world,” he added.
A statement by the AATF communications officer for West and Central Africa, Alex Abutu mentioned that Baptiste also took the opportunity to applaud the critical role that farmers play in preserving our cultural heritage. Our farming traditions passed down through generations, connect us to our roots and remind us of the profound relationship we share with the land.
“Your deep respect for the land, your stewardship, and your understanding of the delicate balance between human progress and nature’s rhythms are invaluable,” he added.
Baptiste concluded by acknowledging the need for continued support and investment in the agricultural sector. He emphasised that governments, organisations, and society as a whole must come together to ensure that farmers have access to the necessary resources, knowledge, and infrastructure for their prosperity. Creating an enabling environment that fosters innovation, empowers small-scale farmers and promotes equitable agricultural practices should be a shared goal.
The AATF is an organisation dedicated to promoting agricultural innovations to address food security challenges in Africa.