The Eastern Regional Coordinating Council has recognised eight outstanding farmers ahead of the 38th National Farmers Day celebration, pledging to ensure full implementation of the government’s flagship agricultural programmes to guarantee food security and job creation.
Overall best farmer, the best youth farmer, the best female farmer, the best livestock farmer, the best crop farmer, the best fisher, the best agricultural extension officer, and the best agro-processor were among the prize categories.
Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, Eastern Regional Minister, said the region was dedicated to implementing the government’s flagship programmes: Planting for Food and Jobs, Rearing for Food and Jobs, and Planting for Export and Rural Development.
These flagship programmes, he noted, had greatly contributed to the development of the agricultural sector by creating jobs, improving crop yields, providing access to improved seeds, and enhancing the usage and application rates of both organic and inorganic fertilizers.
He said agricultural value addition provided the ideal foundation for industrialisation, and as such, the region decided to launch the concept of the “Eastern Commodity Satellite Market” in 2019 to resolve the problem of high post-harvest losses and insufficient market access.
The concept, according to Mr Acheampong, required each municipal and district agriculture department to cultivate at least one commodity in which they had a competitive and comparative advantage.
“This initiative provides the ideal context for the region to grow and achieve its agricultural industrialisation agenda,” he added.
Nana Baffour Nyantakyi Tutu Boateng, Kontihene for the New Juaben Traditional Area, who presided over the event, said the country should use the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to leverage the entire agricultural value chain.
This, he said, should include small-scale farmers as well as agro-processing facilities to help shift the country’s reliance on commodities and raw materials to a more diversified and value-added mix.
He explained that adding value to agribusiness was vital given Ghana’s present setbacks in hunger, food security, and nutrition, as well as economic, health, and environmental problems.
“It is also important to review current policy support for the food and agriculture sectors in order to identify the most needed policy reforms toward value addition,” he added.
Among the eight farmers, Mr. Daniel Gbedewo won the Eastern Regional overall best farmer, Samuel Hodor Mensah as the best agro processor, Kwame Antwi-Bosiako as the best youth farmer, Ernestina Osei Tutu as the best female farmer, Godwin Adzokatse as the best livestock farmer, Michael Soti as the best fisher, and Totimeh Enoch Mensah and Osei Anderson as the best agricultural extension officer and the best crop farmer, respectively.
Mr. Daniel Gbedewo, the overall regional best farmer, told Ghana News Agency that the award and, more significantly, the certificate would motivate him to “take farming to the next level,” but requested assistance in dealing with land encroachers and thieves.
He advised the youth to pursue farming as a career rather than seeking alternative white-collar jobs, emphasising that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
He also stated that he was prepared to mentor young people who are interested in farming.
Farmers who won prizes received tricycles, mist blowers, knapsack sprayers, radios, cutlasses, clothing, Wellington boots, solar lamps, electric kettles, aluminium basins, wheelbarrows, fridges and freezers, and flat screens TVs.