The Ministry of Agriculture (MoFA), in collaboration with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), has officially handed over a 3-bedroom house to the 2016 National Best Farmer, Mr Robert Crentsil, at Gomoa Aprah in the Central Region.
In an address at the ceremony, the Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, expressed gratitude to ADB for sustaining the motivation towards farmers.
Mr Duncan noted that ADB's support to farmers did not only ensure food security but also that the financial institution had helped government to increase employment over the years and raised the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and revenue.
He commended ADB for its commitment to partnering government in appreciating farmers since the inception of the National Best Farmers Awards scheme.
He disclosed that government, through MoFA, would roll out more lucrative initiatives to attract more youth to take part in the Planting for Foods and Jobs programme which was already seeing positive results since its implementation.
Mr Duncan said the 2016 Best Farmer brought to himself, his community, region and colleague farmers honour, admiration, respect and pride for showing passion and determination in farming.
He expressed the hope that the National Best Farmer would use the opportunity to encourage the youth to develop interest in farming, adding that government was ready to support farmers, especially the youth, to see farming as a source of income.
Handing over the keys of the house to MoFA, the Managing Director (MD) of ADB, Dr John Kofi Mensah, disclosed that ADB had, so far, delivered the ultimate price of 16 houses to all National Best Farmers, since 2001, when the bank decided to become the headline sponsor of the National Best Farmers' Awards programme.
Mr Mensah disclosed that the 3-bedroom house for the 2016 Best Farmer was valued at GHc 400,000, adding that the house comprised basic furnishing, including living room furniture, dining set, beds with mattresses for all three rooms, fully-fitted kitchen and a mechanized underground water system, television set, single door refrigerator and a four-burner gas cooker.
The Managing Director of ADB was confident that the provision of the 16 houses to the National Best Farmer Award Winners would motivate Ghanaians to develop interest in farming and agricultural Value-chains businesses in order to significantly increase food production.
He said ADB was a major player in the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme and also fully supporting the government's One-District, One-Factor (1D1F) initiative, noting that, unique funding structures had been developed to support the programmes respectively.
In his remarks, Mr Robert P. Ankobiah, Acting Chief Director of MoFA, expressed the Ministry's appreciation for ADB's support and long-term partnership in the Agriculture sector in general and in the food security sub-sector.
Mr Ankobiah urged farmers and the youth to see farming as a business and a full time job, rather than a part-time job.
He, therefore, appealed to other financial institutions to emulate ADB and support the agricultural sector in order to boost the country's revenue for economic development.
The 2016 National Best Farmer, Mr Crentsil, applauded MoFA and ABD for inspiring farmers with exciting packages in order to attract more people into farming.
Mr Crentsil took the opportunity to encourage his colleague farmers to adopt modern ways of farming by seeking the services of Agricultural Extension Officers as well as other experts in Agriculture.
He assured government that he would continue to work hard in the Agriculture sector because it was his source of income.
In his closing remarks, Mr Benjamin Kojo Otoo, District Chief Executive for Gomoa East and Chairman for occasion, underscored the importance of farming as the foundation for the country's development and survival, hence farmers should be awarded for their tireless efforts.
He urged farmers in the Gomoa District to take advantage of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, with the assurance that government was ready assist as many farmers as it could.
Source: ISD (Aliyah Bayali)