A fifty-five (55) year old man, Mr. Moses Gblorkpo has been adjudged the overall Best District Farmer for the Ningo-Prampram District. He was awarded with a tricycle, agro chemicals, knapsacks among other items. In total, ten farmers were rewarded for contributing to the food security in the district and the nation as a whole. The best female farmer and physically challenged were also recognized and rewarded.
Mr. Gblorkpo, deservedly, won with a variety of food crops and livestock, including a hundred (100) acres of water melon farm, a hundred (100) acres of mango plantation, eighty (80) acres of tomato farm, forty (40) acres of maize and forty (40) acres of cassava. He also has over seventy (70) acres of cereals, other fruits and vegetables.
With approximately, twenty-five years’ experience in agriculture, Mr. Gblorkpo can boast of four hundred (400) herds of cattle, seventy (70) poultry birds, sixty (60) pigs sixty (60) goats and several other animals. He has created employment for twenty permanent staff and ten casual workers.
He is noted for ploughing farmlands of other farmers with his tractor, conveying farm produce of other farmers to the market with his vehicles. More importantly, he also supports brilliant but needy students in his community.
Delivering the keynote address, the District Chief Executive Hon. Al-latiff Tetteh Amanor commended the farmers and the fisher folks for their relentless efforts to ensuring food security. He was enthused with the remarkable distribution of free mango and coconut seedlings to seventy (70) farmers in the District to increase these cash crops. He also praised Government for the continuous support in the fertilizer subsidy and distribution of seedlings to plant and green the environment.
Two major challenges to agricultural sustainability and development identified by the DCE were the inability for farmers to capitalize on agro-processing and loss of arable farmlands to real estate developers. Relating agro-processing to the theme “Accelerating Agricultural Development through Value Addition”, the DCE, stated that for unexplainable reasons the country is unable to capitalize on value addition to raw materials in other to derive the full benefits from agriculture. He added that value addition is economically prudent to maximizing the country’s economic fortunes, preventing post-harvest losses and ensuring food sustainability in all the seasons.
Secondly, he disclosed that as a result of development in the real estate sector, arable farmlands are being lost to this industry and sand wining activities. This threatens food security and sustainability in the near future. He said, some farmers sold out their lands to estate developers and this development must be curtailed. He called on the traditional leaders in the district to intervene and protect farm lands from being lost to the real estate developers and sand winning activities.
According to the District Director of Agriculture, Mr. Prince Ofori-Boateng, agricultural activities within the district has be successful except for a few set back in the livestock and poultry sector. Their records evidently established that major crop productivity and production were higher this year compared to the previous year. These successes he attributed to the joint efforts of government, the District Assembly and the farmers.
In the same vein, government’s flagship programme, “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) had its intended positive impacts on agriculture in the district. The PFJ had reduced the cost of production and increased crop productivity. In this year alone, a total of eight thousand one hundred and eighty-six (8186) farmers in the district benefited from the PFJ programme.
However, the poultry and livestock sector was hit by avian influenza and African swine fever respectively, resulting in a devastating loss to the farmers. Almost twenty-two thousand (22,000) birds were destroyed. Hundreds of crates of eggs and bags of feeds were also destroyed. He added that “government is in swift pursuit to compensate the farmers affected for their loss”.
In tangent with the theme for this year’s celebration, the District can boast of some enhanced agribusiness activities that adds value to agricultural produce. Mr. Ofori-Boateng asserted that there are a good number of well-established processors and aggregators working with farmers in the district, producing enhanced products for both local and international markets.
This notwithstanding, the agricultural sector in the district is faced with arrayed challenges. In addition to the loss of farmlands to real estate developers and sand winners, high cost of farm mechanisation, the collapse of the Dawa Dam and long seasonal dry spell in parts of the district, threatens the future of agricultural sustainability and food security in the district.
The celebration was graced by the traditional leaders in the districts, hon. Assembly Members, staff from the District Assembly and hard-working farmers across the District. officers of the health directorate conducted free screening for participants and educated them on the HIV/AIDS. The participants were encouraged to test and know their status of HIV for a happier living
The chairman for the occasion, Nene Kudi Duamor IV, chief of Ayertepa encouraged the youth to take agricultural ventures seriously since the youth and agriculture can transform the fortunes of the nation.