I Was Once A Pepper Farmer – Kwesi Pratt

Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr has confessed that he ‘used to be a pepper farmer’ who supplied pepper in bags. The journalist cum social commentator said he decided to grow the vegetable at his backyard after realizing that he can save some money when he grows the vegetable himself. “I used to live in one of those flats at white avenue in 1983, had very little land around it and I decided to make ten beds and plant pepper…over three years I had so much pepper, I was supplying my neighbours with pepper…,” he revealed. Themed: Eat what you grow, the farmers’ day marked by Ghana yesterday aimed at sensitizing Ghanaians on the need to start backyard gardens as was done under the Acheampong regime of the 1970s. The day was instituted in the 1980s to honour the contributions of Ghanaian farmers with deserving ones across the country receiving categories of honours for their hard work. This theme, Kwesi Pratt said on Accra-based Radio Gold was appropriate as the country is fast losing its agricultural basis. To him, it was very surprising for a country which has fertile lands to stop thinking of what it can do in Agriculture due to the quest for foreign investors by the leadership of the country. “Let our leaders encourage us to do these things and it is possible to do them…,” he added. To him, backyard gardens are still important as some farmers in Accra make use of water from gutters to water their crops causing various health complications to consumers of vegetables from these ‘gutter farms.’ Common sense, he maintained, is the way to go in Agriculture insisting it would be suicidal for the leadership of this country to encourage dependence on seeds from International firm, Monsanto. “The worst thing we can do to ourselves is to formulate policies which makes farmers depend on seeds from outside…,” he said. He could not comprehend why Ghana would encourage such a practice despite the obvious fact that Monsanto has commissioned agriculturalists to go round the world to gather seeds for a purpose.