GNA –A 50-year old farmer, Mr Joseph Yaw Oppong of Nimosereso in the Sunyani West District, was on Friday declared the overall best farmer in the District.
He owns 150 acres of cashew plantation, 180 acres of maize, cassava, 60 acres; pepper, two acres; yam, 20 acres; oil palm, six acres; coconut, two acres; six cattle, ducks, 40; pigs, 30; goat, 10; and local birds 40.
For his prize, Mr Oppong received a motorbike, a wheelbarrow, a full piece wax print, four key soap bars, four cutlasses, a Wellington boot, two litres of pesticide and a knapsack sprayer.
The first and second runner-ups were Messrs Isaac Bunso, 38, and Abdulai Seidu, 37 years from Fiapre and Amanfoso respectively.
Bunso received a deep freezer refrigerator and Seidu too an LCD 32 inches flat screen television set, in addition to same amount of items Oppong had, excluding motorbike for each them.
Besides, seven others, including best physically challenged farmer, Mr Frank Asante, 60, from Nsoatre were recognised and honoured with items like bicycles, wheel barrows, wax prints, key soap bars, cutlasses, wellington boots, pesticides and knapsack sprayer.
Speaking at a durbar organised jointly by the District Assembly and District Directorate of Agriculture to observe the 33rd national farmers’ day celebration held under the theme: “Farming for Food and Jobs” at Asuakwaa, near Chiraa, Mr Martin Obeng, the District Chief Executive (DCE), said the choice of the theme calls for financial and technical support packages to promote an accelerated agricultural production.
He commended the Director and staff of the Directorate of Agriculture for their dedicated services to farmers and urged them to continue to explore innovative ways of developing and strengthening the various Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs) on business lines.
Mr Obeng expressed the hope that with strong FBOs, the farmers would easily access financial and technical assistance and thus make them competitive on the market.
Mr Gilbert Sonkpi, the District Director of Agriculture, said the government has invested so much in subsidizing seeds and farming inputs to farmers to create jobs for the youth and also ensure food security in the country through the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFFJs) programme.
He urged District’s farmers to patronise the PFFJs inputs next farming season because the Directorate still had over 8,000 bags of fertilizers and seeds.
Mr Sonkpi said any farmer who wants to win an award should not work solely on his/her own but must be in contact with the extension officers in their operational areas.
The programme was graced by traditional rulers in the District, including Nana Abenaa Boatemaa, the paramount queen of Odomase Number One and chaired by Barima Afari Minta, the chief of Chiraa and the Benkumhene (head, the left wing division) of the Dormaa Traditional Area.
The occasion was also used to launch the District’s bush fire prevention campaign and since the day also coincided with the observation of World HIV/AIDS Day, the DCE advised the people to refrain from unsafe sexual practices.