Stakeholders in the agriculture sector always look forward to their “BIG DAY” – the National Farmers’ Day. The Farmers’ Day which was instituted by the Government of Ghana in 1985 is in recognition of the vital role farmers and fishers play in the economy after the bad agricultural years of 1982 and 1983.
The annual event has since recognized, celebrated, and honored not only farmers and fisherfolk but other equally important service providers and stakeholders along the value chain contributing to the nation’s food basket.
The awarding of farmers starts from the district levels to regionals and then the overall national best farmer. As we wait to see who wins the highly desired title at the 37th National Farmers Day celebration under the theme: Planting for Food and Jobs – Consolidating Food Systems in Ghana let us look at a brief profile of the last three winners of the award.
JAMES OBENG BOATENG (2018)
In 2018, Mr. James Obeng Boateng, a 60-year-old farmer from Nkoranza in the Brong Ahafo Region was crowned as the National Best Farmer. Mr. Obeng Boateng who had been farming for over 18 years, at the time of him being crowned the national best farmer had a workforce of 102, comprising 45 full-time employees and 57 casual workers. He also had 40 boxes of beehives that had been colonized with bees and two fish ponds stocked with tilapia and catfish.
In addition, he had large numbers of ruminants such as cattle, goats, sheep, and poultry with diversified agricultural production, covering roots and tubers, cereals, vegetables, plantation crops, legumes, and timber species. The 2018 champion had good knowledge in record keeping he had acquired from his extensive experience as a top executive at Coca-Cola and then Cadbury. His farm became a real model one in the country.
Mr. Boateng who is passionate about community development supported the construction of a three classroom block and the renovation of a teachers’ residential apartment at Nyinase in the Brong Ahafo Region and instituted an educational sponsorship for some community members of his community.
CHARLES GYAMFI (2019)
Mr. Charles Gyamfi from the Tano North Municipality of the newly created Ahafo Region who ended his education at the secondary level was crowned the National Best Farmer in 2019 with cultivated 500 acres of cocoa; 20 acres of teak and several acres of cashew, yam, cocoyam, maize, garden eggs, plantain, citrus, and cashew. He also had to his credit 75 cattle; 25 goats; 2,000 layers; five beehives; three fish ponds and 1,000 snails.
Mr. Gyamfi was noted for using modern technology to add value to his productions and produce as well as environmentally sustainable in his operations where he uses droppings from the animals as manure and uses the maize and other cereals to feed fish. He was a philanthropist who engaged in several humanitarian activities which included financially assisting over a hundred people to enable them to enroll in the National Health Insurance Scheme and also donated hundred bags of cement toward the construction of a clinic in his community.
SOLOMON KOJO KUSI (2020)
A 55 year – old Solomon Kojo Kusi, from the Jomoro District of the Western Region is currently the reigning champion of the national farmers’ day held in 2020. The national best farmer who won the district level award in 2015 and National Best Tree Crop Farmer 2018 has been in the agriculture business for the past decade.
What started as a hobby for the former taxi driver who was buying and selling rice and engaging in subsistence farming will later develop into a passion and then grow in a big business to win the ultimate National Best Farmer award.
The 2020 National Best Farmer owns 720 acres of rubber plantation, 380 acres of cocoa farm, 250 acres of coconut, 180 acres of oil palm, 10 acres of cassava, 75 acres of plantain, 35 acres of maize, five acres of garden eggs, five acres of okra and 10 acres of pepper.
He also has 11,000 poultry birds, 50 turtles, 80 sheep, 40 goats, 350 local fowls, 10 fish ponds, 56 grasscutters, 1,000 snails, 10 acres of ginger, two acres of tomatoes, and a plantation of 200 Odum trees, 800 Emire trees, 300 Dawoma trees, 3,000 Mahogany trees, and 300 Framo trees. His farms located in Kusikrom, Nanakrom, Nyamekwame, Tikobo No.1, Tweako Navrongo communities of the Jomoro District in the western region employ a total of 225 workers, including 105 full-time employees and 120 occasional employees
The award-winning farmer is seen as a role model and an exemplary leader to the people of his community most especially the youth in Jomoro. Given his successes, Mr. Kusi is seen by Jomoro’s youth as an epitome of work ethic and a source of motivation. Considered a philanthropist, Mr. Kojo Kusi, among other social duties, built three (3) mechanized boreholes, in collaboration with Jomoro Member of Parliament, Paul Essien, for the communities of Fanti Newtown, Nyamebekyere, and Awiafutu Junction. He also sponsored the classification of a 5-kilometer power road from Mile 5 to Kusikrom and Tweako-Navrongo in 2014.
By: Rita Effah-Dartey | Agrigold