The Agricultural Development Bank PLC (ADB) has fulfilled its sponsorship pledge to the 2021 National Best Farmer Alhaji Mashud Mohammed, with his prize money of Six Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢600,000).
The presentation ceremony, held in Accra, had the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto; his Deputy in charge of Crops, Yaw Frimpong Addo; the Managing Director of ADB, Dr. John Kofi Mensah, and other officials of the bank and MOFA in attendance.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyies Akoto, in his remarks said the prize is a testament to Alhaji Mohammed’s hard work of engaging in the ministry’s flagship initiative ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ).
He intimated that there are many farmers, as well as non-farmers, who have had their lives transformed after participating in the novel initiative.
The minister said the 1D1F programme positively contributed to mitigating the fear of food shortages as posed by both the fall armyworm infestation and coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Ghana stood very firm and we continue to be a net exporter of food to our neighbours,” he emphasised.
He therefore allayed concerns and fears over food shortage due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying: “There is no need for anybody to panic; we will come out of it, just as we did with the COVID-19 and the fall armyworm”.
Dr. Akoto used the occasion to appeal for commercial banks to invest in local commercial farmers – encouraging the banks to partner with farmers and government to further strengthen the agricultural sector as the economy’s backbone.
He said support from the banks will help in expansion of the sector, and that will help create more wealth through the creation of more jobs.
“Look at the sector again. If previously there were prejudices against agriculture because of the high risk, now we have opened it up; there are huge areas for opportunity in agribusiness and value chain development.”
He further commended the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) for their continuous support to the Agricultural sector, especially the National Farmers’ Day celebration.
Dr. Mensah gave an assurance that the bank will continue supporting government to reward gallant farmers and fishers.
“We remain committed to ensuring that the agricultural sector continues to play its critical role in the national economy,” he said
He highlighted projects the bank had partnered government to implement, of which the PFJ is among.
He however acknowledged problems in the sector, saying the bank is aware of challenges facing the poultry sector, and assured the country that there is a planned collaboration with MoFA and other stakeholders to address and strengthen the sector.
Receiving his award, Alhaji Mohammed – 44, said he will reinvest the money in his farm activities, particularly broiler production, so that he will be able to create employment opportunities for young people.
He stressed that it is important for those already in the agricultural sector to make deliberate efforts to woo the youth into it, as that will not only provide a secure form of employment but also help with the sector’s security and sustenance.
The 2021 National Best Farmer expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the ADB and government for their generosity and continued support that enabled him to attain his feat.