A volunteer health worker, Mr. Mohammed Salam, has been adjudged the overall Best Farmer for the Afigya Kwabre district in Ashanti.
He entered the race with13 cows, 10 goats, 35 Guinean fowls, 35 fowls, 11 Turkeys and 7 geese. He received 3 cutlasses, 32 LD flat screen TV, Wellington boots, two bars of key soap, mixed blower freezer and a piece of cloth at the 32nd Farmers day observation held at Wawase, where 18 individual farmers were awarded in various farming categories.
The theme for this year's Farmers' day was "Agriculture; Business Respond to economic growth".
Mr. Kaakyere Oppong Kyekyeku, District Chief Executive of Afigya Kwabre entreated farmers to diversify from old traditional agriculture to the promotion of large scale agriculture.
According to him, using improved agricultural innovations and planting materials would enhance overall agricultural productivity.
He said there is the need to promote alternative income generation activities through non-traditional farming (rearing of grass-cutters, rabbits, snail, mushroom production and backyard poultry, among others in the district.
According to him, it is government vision to come out with measures to enhance cocoa production in Ghana, and to make the vision a reality, the government has intensified projects and programmes towards increase in cocoa production, notable among them include the cocoa mass spraying programme which distributes free insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers to boost production.
The DCE revealed that, the government has distributed 60 million cocoa seedlings to support farmers to rehabilitate over aged cocoa farms, diseased farms and start up farms, and has also secured $1.8 billion to purchase cocoa beans for the 2016/2017 crop season, while the cocoa roads projects are ongoing nationwide under the Ghana Cocoa Board Road Programme of which the district is a beneficiary.
He said under the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP)/MOFA, the District has established a total of ten rice, maize, cassava demonstration fields across the District, the purpose of which he said is to enable farmers to learn on-farm agricultural innovations and enhance availability of improved planting materials for farmers, as more than one thousand, four hundred (1,400) farmers have benefited from free improved rice seeds, maize seeds and cassava planting materials.
Mr. Kwame Amoako, the District agric director, also explained that, the selection of best farmers is guided by criteria set by Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and that selection of award winners was not based on any political, social, economic and religious conditions.
At Manso Abiram in the Amansie West district, 28 hardworking farmers were honoured at this year's farmers' day ceremony with 53-year-old farmer, Mr. George Asamoah of Manso Abodom emerging the overall best farmer.
For his prize he received a motorcycle, four pairs of Wellington boots, knapsack spraying machine, sic cutlasses, soap and certificate of honour.
The District chief executive for Amansie West, Mr. Alex Kwame Bonsu said the Government through Cocoa Board provided free 40,000 bags of fertilizers, 38,000 liters of insecticide and 43,680 boxes of fungicides to improve cocoa production in the district for the 2015/2016 crop year.
From Nyamebekyere in the Bosome-Freho District in the Ashanti Region The Chronicle gathered that 32 farmers engaged in crop and animal production were honoured.
Mr. Kwaku Arhin, 42, from Anyanso was adjudged the overall Best District Farmer. He owes 50 acres of cocoa, seven acres of plantain, 8 acres of maize, 17 acres of oil palm, 5 acres of cassava, 3 acres of vegetables, 5 acres of cocoyam, alongside 47 goats, 32 sheep, 150 pigs, 4,120 hens, 17 ducks, and 12 guinea fowls with 30m X 50m fishpond and rice farming.
He took home a 32 Digital TV set, a radio set, a knapsack spraying machine, half piece cloth, two cutlasses, weed size and a certificate.
In his acceptance speech, the overall Best District Farmer, Mr. Kwaku Arhin expressed his appreciation for the honour bestowed on him and therefore, admonished the youth to see agriculture as a business and sustainable source of employment venture to generate income for improved living conditions and a secured future.
The District Chief Executive for Bosome-Freho, Hon. Kwame Adarkwah assured the farmers of government's support to enable them produce more food to feed the nation. He said government is on course making the agriculture sector a pivot around, which the economy would grow.
Hon. Adarkwah appealed to the youth to take advantage of government interventions in the sector to take up farming seriously to better their lot and forget about the non-existing white colour jobs.
The Bosome-Freho District Director of Agriculture, Mr. Paul Acheampong, announced that government has instituted a grant to motivate farmers to produce enough food to feed Ghanaians. He said the district had won the best regional cassava award for two years running and therefore, urged farmers in the district to seek more advice from Extension officers and Business Advisory services available to improve their farms and businesses.