Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe, a 43-year-old mixed farmer, based at Juaben in the Ashanti Region, has been adjudged the 2022 Overall National Best Farmer.
He was crowned at the 38th National Farmers’ Day Celebration, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), at Jubilee Park in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital.
.The Day was held on the theme: “Accelerating Agricultural Development Through Value Addition.”
The award-winner took home a cash prize of GH₵1 million, tractor with implements, trailer, Boom sprayer, and other souvenirs.
Nana Sarpong Siriboe has a 900-acre oil palm plantation, 200-acres of maize, over 17, 000 poultry birds, as well as several livestock and acres of cocoa, cassava cashew, mango and cowpea farms, with a total workforce of 145.
Mr. Seth Agyei Fosu, also a mixed farmer based in the Kintampo-North of the Brong-East Region, took the First Runner-Up position, and received a tractor, trailer, Disc Plough and Boom Sprayer.
Professor Akwasi Asabere Ameyaw, a mixed-farmer based in the Techiman-North of the Brong-East Region, emerged as the Second Runner-Up (Overall National Best Farmer), and was given a tractor with implements.
A total of 15 awards were given at this year’s ceremony, held on the theme, “Accelerating Agricultural Development through Value Addition.”
The other categories included the National Best Livestock Farmer, National Best Crop Farmer, Overall National Best Fisher, National Best Marine Fisher, National Best Inland Fisher, National Best Fisher Farmer, and National Best Fish Processor.
They received various souvenirs for distinguishing themselves in their respective fields of agriculture.
Ghana to influence food system in the sub-region
Addressing the gathering, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said Ghana will leverage its potential for grain production to feed the West African region and beyond.
He said the loads of grain such as maize, rice and soya, exported to neighbouring Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Côte d’Ivoire in the last three years was evidence that Ghana could influence the food system in the region.
To this effect, the President a Bill had been placed before Parliament requesting for approval to amend the erstwhile Grain Development Authority Act, 1970 (Act 234) to provide for the establishment of a body corporate to regulate, promote and coordinate development of the grain industry.
President Akufo-Addo said the Authority, with private sector participation, would coordinate actors in the grain industry to achieve higher productivity, gain market access and increase value addition.
This would also maximize the benefits from the grain sector through effective regulation.
The President emphasized that agriculture would remain a top priority of his administration.
He indicated that the massive investments made in the sector attest to the fact that Ghana was better prepared and had demonstrated resilience to the current adversities threatening to destabilise food systems.
“This has been possible because of the sound, pragmatic policies and programmes rolled out at the inception of my stewardship.”
President Akufo-Addo affirmed that the flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), with its focus on improving farm productivity, through the use of technology, had succeeded in increasing Ghana’s food security, and opened up new opportunities for diversifying agricultural exports.
The PFJ, he stated, had promoted six tree crops for future substantial foreign exchange earnings.
“In 2016, Government inherited production levels of 1.7 million metric tonnes of maize and six hundred and sixty-five thousand metric tons of rice (665,000).
“Under the PFJ, maize production reached 3.4 million tonnes by 2021 and rice to 1.2 million metric tonnes… The credit must go to our gallant farmers, fishers and value chain actors who embraced the PFJ policies, and leveraged the opportunities created by the enabling environment for agricultural development,” he said.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, commended the farmers for their efforts, saying the Ministry would continue to liaise with them, and implement the best of policies in their favour.