Some say farming doesn’t pay well and that it’s just a waste of a person’s life. Others say it’s a job for the illiterate but I beg to differ because I have been in farming throughout my life and trust me when I say that farming pays very well”.
Opanyin Abraham Kwaku Adusei, the man who just made Ghana proud at the recently held International Cocoa Conference (ICCO) in Amsterdam, Netherland, owns over 400 acres of cocoa farms situated at Osiem and Elubo in the Eastern and Western Region, respectively.
Born on June 21, 1946 to the late Nana John Badu and Sarah Adwoa Oforiwaa, natives of Osiem Akim Abuakwa, Opanyin Adusei, as he is affectionately called by his peers in the cocoa industry, is currently the General Superintendent of Saviour Church of Ghana (SCG).
At the SCG, which has over 100,000 members nationwide, Opanyin Adusei has led them to acquire about 5,000 acres of land used mainly for farming activities.
He has also made sure that all the youth in his church, aside from their profession, have been given a portion of land at Osiem to farm.
Genesis of farming career
Opanyin Adusei describes his intense desire and passion for farming as something he grew up with while staying with his parents.
“I had parents who had extreme zeal for farming. My parents used to send my siblings and me (10 in number) to the farm. They consistently told us that the best way for anybody to make life comfortable for his or herself was through entrepreneurship. For them farming was the key,” he recalled.
According to Opanyin Adusei, although his late parents never forced him to follow their steps, they did extremely well in educating him about the potential in the agriculture field.”
“Unfortunately, this is not what we see lately in our world today. Most parents rather discourage their wards from entering into farming. Parents nowadays prefer their children to aim for white-collar jobs which are limited,” he pointed out.
Opanyin Adusei began his elementary school at Osiem and completed in 1958. He had his secondary school education at Aggrey Memorial Secondary School at Cape Coast in the Central Region and completed in 1963.
He then gained admission to the University of Cape Coast a year later to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education in 1968.
After his university education, he taught Chemistry and History at the Tweneboah Koduah SHS in the Ashanti Region for about eight years
According to Opanyin Adusei, those years he spent in the classroom offered him the experience and also strengthened his belief that working for oneself was the best profession.
The journey of life, they say, never comes without a few distractions, and Opanyin Adusei, throughout his farming career, had his fair share.
According to him, among the many challenges he faced, the most difficult one was the fact that he had people, especially good friends, who tried to convince him to abandon his dreams of becoming a farmer.
“Some of them never understood why a brilliant chap like me would want to become a farmer and not a doctor or lawyer. They just didn’t understand and tried on many occasions to convince me to abandon that dream.”
He said after many failed attempts by his friends to convince him to shun farming, they stopped because his strong passion could not be changed.
ICCO honour and other awards
Even before Opanyin Adusei could be spotted globally in his chosen profession, he had already been highly recognised in Ghana.
He was honoured and recognised for his role in the cocoa industry three consecutive times from 1991-1993 by the Produce Buying Company (PBC).
In 2009, Opanyin Adusei was adjudged the best cocoa farmer in the Eastern Region at the Farmers’ Day celebration.
His moment of glory came in 2013 when he emerged as the best cocoa farmer in Ghana.
At the second edition of the World Cocoa Conference by ICCO, which is composed of both cocoa producing and consuming countries in June 9-13, 2014, Ghana’s only representative, Opanyin Adusei, took the topmost award as the global best cocoa farmer.
The award was presented to him by the Executive Director of ICCO, Dr Jen-Marc Anga.
Opanyin Adusei was elected as the president of the World Cocoa Farmers Organization (WCFO) during the conference in Netherland.
Farming in Ghana
He is of the view that one of the reasons that make people, especially the youth, to ignore farming is the wrong perception they hold and lack of support.
According to Opanyin Adusei, the erroneous perception concerning agriculture in Ghana continues to take a devastating effect on Ghana’s effort to economic transformation.
He said most of the youth have been socialised into thinking that agriculture “is an old man’s profession.”
“Compounding the problem is the fact that most of these youth do not have the support and land to farm. Those who are willing to give you the land do it under extreme conditions.”
In his case, Opanyin Adusei said he took over his parent’s farmland at Osiem, which was about four acres and gradually expanded it when he got more income.
Opanyin Adusei believes that the future of Ghana’s economy would be brighter if more effort was put into supporting and equipping the youth to engage in farming.
“The youth must be made to understand that agriculture, aside from being the backbone of Ghana’s economy, is profitable. They must be properly informed that agriculture is the key to alleviating poverty and self-empowerment,” he said.
According to Opanyin Adusei, until the erroneous perception was removed and the youth were properly assisted by institutions such as the banks and the society, the youth would continue to see farming as a curse and punishment.
“Whoever brought the idea that when a student flouts school rules, they should be punished to work on the farm has done the country a disservice but the country can still correct this error,” he said.
Source: Daily Graphic.