Konongo-Odumase (A/R), Nov. 6, GNA – The Asante-Akim Central Municipal Assembly has rewarded 23 farmers including six women at a ceremony to mark the 36th National Farmers Day at Konongo-Odumasi.

Two institutions were also rewarded; the Konongo Odumasi Senior High School, which was adjudged the Best Farming Institution, and “Odo Na Eye” as Best Community Based Organization (CBO) farmers group.

Mr Bismark Mantey Asare, a 38-year-old teacher from Obenimase-Kwaem, was adjudged the Overall Municipal Best Farmer and took home assorted farm inputs, wellington boots, knapsack sprayers, cutlasses and a tricycle.

He has 1,600 layers in his poultry farm, as well as 17 acres of cocoa, 13 acres of plantain, seven acres of cassava, 3.5 acres of cocoyam, in addition to livestock.

The ceremony, on the theme: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges,” was witnessed by key stakeholders including chiefs, assembly members, heads of decentralised departments, farmers and the public.

Mrs Susan Akomeah, the Municipal Chief Executive, applauded the gallant farmers for their sacrifices in feeding the nation all year round despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19.

She said the theme for this year’s celebration reiterated government’s plans to move agriculture from subsistence to commercial farming to boost investment, create jobs, expand markets, and promote the competition of goods and services for agriculture.

She said for the first time Ghana had become an exporter of foodstuffs to neighbouring countries due to the visionary leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The introduction of interventions such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and Planting for Export and Rural Development had been a game changer in terms of yield and income for farmers, she said.

“In our quest to ensure the full implementation of the Government’s initiatives to revamp the cocoa sector and make it attractive once again, a total of 57,736 hectares of cocoa farms were sprayed under the mass cocoa spraying exercise for farmers in the Municipality,” Mrs Akomeah said.

She said 145 people had been employed under the artificial pollination programme not only to increase cocoa production but also provide employment for the youth.

Mrs Akomeah appealed to the people, especially the youth, to take advantage of the opportunity created by government to go into agribusiness for sustainable livelihood and food security in the country. “By so doing, this country will be able to turn the threats that COVID-19 poses to great opportunities in the agriculture sector.”

Mr Ernest Kusi, the Municipal Director of the Department of Agriculture, said agriculture grew by 2.5 per cent despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 due to tailor-made policies introduce by government to improve the sector.

He said home grown food consumption had increased tremendously through the transformational agenda to shift the economy from import to export-led. GNA