A 47-year old chief of Prestea-Anyinam, Nana Kwamina Danso II was on Friday adjudged the Best Farmer in the Wassa West District. He has 60-acre cocoa farm, 50-acre oil palm plantation, eight acres of cassava plantation and one acre pineapple farm. The rest are one-acre okro farm, one acre of beans, one point five acres of maize, one acre of garden eggs, 100 mounds of yam, poultry, 75 and 44 sheep. He was given a 21-inch colour Television, half piece wax print, four matchets and two pair of Wellington boots.
Madam Afua Saah, 60, of Huniso followed Nana Danso, and Madam Grace Amoo of Aboso came third. In all, 15 Farmers received awards as best farmers in the District. They were given many items including sewing machines, iron sheets, wax print, bicycles and Wellington boots. In an address, Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Ayensu, Wassa West District Chief Executive, said Agricultural sector holds the key to the National growth and development, since over 70% of the active labour force are engaged in Agricultural sector.
He said it was therefore not surprising that government has identified modernizing agriculture, centred on rural development, as one of the five priority areas to transform the country into a middle level income status within the framework of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).
Mr Ayensu said Govern ment has received 60 million US dollars from the International Development Association (IDA) in addition to signing of an agreement with Agency Francaise de Development (AFD) of France for 10 million Euros to implement Community Based Rural Development Project (CBRDP) with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as the implementing Agency.
He disclosed that Wassa West District intends to use its share of the fund to rehabilitate feeder roads linking food and cocoa growing areas to the market centres and to help assess loans under the CBRDP. Mr Ayensu said the ability to produce and create wealth as a nation depends on good health and therefore appealed to everybody to register with the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, which has taken off in the district for better health services.
Again, he told parents to take advantage of Capitation Grant adopted by Government to send their children to school, adding, "The District Assembly is also doing its best by providing school furniture to the various primary and Junior Secondary Schools, rehabilitating existing school blocks as well as constructing new school blocks in the remote parts of the District, to enable children have access to quality basic education in the District".
The Best Farmer appealed to farmers to engage Agricultural Extension Officers and also adopt modern methods of farming to increase their crop yield.
Mr Sam Agyemang, a miner and the 2004 Best Farmer, told workers not to depend on official duties alone but to go into farming as well. He appealed to Chiefs to explain and make easy the process leading to land acquisition for farming. Mr Agyemang pleaded with chiefs to settle land disputes among farmers.
Miss Anna Blay, Wassa West District Director of Agriculture commended farmers for their hard work.
Osagyefo Kwamina Enimil VI, paramount chief of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area chaired the function.
Alhaji Seidu Chibsah, a retired staff of UNICEF and presently the Chief Executive of Embik Farms, Abrakaso, was on Friday adjudged the Best Afigya-Sekyere District Farmer, at the Farmers Day celebration held at Agona.
For his award, Alhaji Chibsah, who is also the Kumasi Old-Tafo Zongo Chief, had a 21-inch color television, a spraying machine, a piece of cloth, five cutlasses and a pair of Wellington boots. Opanin Owusu Boahen, a middle-aged farmer also won the District Best cocoa farmer award, while 22 others were also honoured with various awards for excelling in various disciplines of agriculture. They were all honoured with consolatory awards ranging from Wellington boots, through radio sets, insecticides and piece of cloth. The Best District Farmer award winner, has 20 acres land of farm on which he is currently producing cattle, rabbits, poultry, food crops and vegetables.
Receiving his awards, Alhaji Chibsah said the objective of the farm was not to produce to make private profit only, but to rather make it possible for the local farmers and the unemployed youth in the rural settings to benefit from new agricultural practices. Alhaji Chibsah said even though farming may be perceived as capital intensive, what matters most is the zeal and the need to link up closely with the Agricultural Extension officers. He said, this way farmers, would be able to upgrade their skills and come face to face with new and modern techniques that would promote their farming ventures and enhance yields. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr. Henry K. Crenstil Jnr., the Afigya-Sekyere District Director of Agriculture, complained that too much time and resources are normally channelled into the celebration of funerals at the expense of planting, weeding, fertilizer application and harvesting.
He called for a more radical change of such practices if the country was to accelerate development of the agricultural sector. Mr. Ben Abankwah, Afigya-Sekyere District Chief Executive, advised the youth to regard farming as a business venture worth undertaking. machine, a spraying machine, two full pieces of wax prints, among others and a certificate of merit.
22 other outstanding farmers including two women, madam Margaret Ayeley of Anyinam, in the Atiwa District and Madam Doris Akudey Tetteh of Trom in the Yilo Krobo District, who won the best regional farmers awards in plantain and mango respectively received various prizes. At the same function, the Akwamu Secondary School and 14 farmers including two women and a physically challenged man who distinguished themselves in the cultivation of various crops also received award packages at the ceremony.
Mr Barimah donated a personal amount of 200,000 to Nana Amfo Awuah, 65, of Gyakiti, the physically challenged, for cultivating maize, cassava and livestock production.
In Koforidua, 26 farmers in the New Juaben Municipality were presented with various awards with the Municipal Best Farmer award going to Mr John Nador, who took away a 21-inch colour television set, a bicycle and other token gifts.
Mr Issifu Limann took the second position, followed by Mr Michael Asare, while the Best Female Farmer went to Miss Comfort Nyametse. The New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Nana Adjei Boateng, commended the award winners and urged his compatriots not to relegate farming to the background but to see it as a dignified profession that ought to be pursued.
He said it was in recognition of the importance government attached to agriculture that the incentive packages were fashioned out to enable farmers to access credit and improve qualitatively in their output. The Municipal Agriculture Director, Mr G Y A Adukpo, asked farmers to apply relevant technology and extension services to their work to increase their produce without destroying the environment. Such application, he said, was increasingly needed in areas such as New Juaben where appropriate technology could be applied to the existing few arable lands. 02 Dec. 05