ADB, MOFA present GH¢1m to 2023 National Best Farmer


By Christabel DANSO ABEAM

The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has presented a cheque of GH¢1m to Charity Akortia, 2023 National Best Farmer.

The amount is the ultimate prize to the overall winner of the 2023 National Farmers Day held in December 2023.

Speaking at the cheque handover ceremony, Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Bryan Acheampong praised ADB for its steadfast partnership in advancing the agricultural sector’s development.

“Let me applaud ADB for also being lead-sponsor of the National Best Farmer scheme for the past 23 years,” he stressed.

He further praised Ms. Akortia for being a woman who is feeding and employing a lot of people, and reiterated the ministry’s commitment to assisting farmers – including all winners.

“The ministry is ready to assist all other awardees; we pledge to work closely with them to expand their farms, employ more people and feed the country.”

Managing Director-ADB Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu-Tali said the bank being a lead sponsor for the National Best Farmers award scheme for the past 23 years underscores its steadfast commitment to recognising the commendable efforts of the country’s hardworking farmers and fisher-folk.

“Our focus remains unwavering on enhancing their livelihoods, acknowledging their pivotal role in ensuring food security and driving economic prosperity.”

He further indicated that in line with ADB’s core mandate, they remain committed to ensuring the agricultural sector continues to play a dominant role in wealth creation and national development; and to collaborate with government and the private sector for the implementation of viable projects and programmes in the agricultural sector- such as planting for food and Jobs phase II, among others, as part of efforts to promote agribusiness for wealth creation.

Food self-sufficiency

The Minister for Food and Agriculture, touching on other happenings in the sector, indicated that the country is on track to becoming food and poultry self-sufficient by the next five years; stating that we are currently 15 percent self-sufficient.

“We want to move to 23 percent this year, 45 percent next year and continue on that trajectory.”

He mentioned that strides have been made in bolstering agricultural productivity and food security, with key initiatives such as the rollout of Planting for Food and Jobs phase II, enhancement of irrigation farming practices and the advancement of poultry rearing techniques having been introduced.

These efforts signify a concerted push toward sustainable agricultural practices and economic growth in the sector.

“Last year, the private sector brought in about 11-million-day-old chicks. This year, government alone is bringing 18-million-day-old chicks.”

According to him, with the ongoing efforts in the poultry industry, including government programmes and private sector contributions, there is a clear trajectory toward self-sufficiency.

If the current trend  persists, Ghana may achieve self-reliance in poultry production within five years; potentially eliminating the need for poultry imports.

The sector minister highlighted that this positive outlook reflects a promising future for the country’s poultry sector, and signals a significant milestone in Ghana’s agricultural landscape.

Dr, Acheampong further highlighted significant progress in the country’s irrigation sector, noting that irrigation coverage has expanded from 11,000 hectares in 1960 to 15,000 hectares by 2017; and also announced the addition of 25,000 hectares to the national irrigation scheme through commissioned, ongoing and recently awarded contracts in just 12 months since joining the ministry.

He emphasised that between 2017 and a year ago, 4,000 hectares were added; and since April last year, he has overseen the addition of 25,000 hectares – bringing total expansion during his tenure to 25,000 hectares.

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