A 70-year-old crop farmer Issifu Ayamba from Bawku in the Upper East Region, on Friday, emerged overall Best Farmer in the Tema West Municipality.
For his prize, he received a tricycle, wheel barrow, weedicide, eight cutlasses, radio set, full piece of cloth, urea, hamper, two Knapsack sprayers, Wellington boots amongst other items.
Mr Ayamba, who farms along the Buena Vista stretch of farm lands, Klagon and Lashibi Emf, practices all year farming using six pumping machines, PVC pipelines, and 10 Knapsack sprayers.
He owns 10 acres of onion, 15 acres of tomatoes, three acres of Bell pepper, 10 acres of Okro, two acres of Bonnet pepper, 15 acres of maize, two acres of cucumber, 32 cattle, 41 sheep, 13 goats, 36 local fowls, and 15 guinea fowls.
Suleman Zakaria Ginkor, 34, from Bawku and a graduate of the University of Development Studies, Wa, was adjudged runner-up, whiles Madam Rejoice Hetty Ayivor, from Denu in the Volta Region was awarded Best Crop Farmer in the Municipality.
Best Livestock Farmer went to Baba Osman Iddrisu, while Gideon Buernor Apetorgbor was awarded Best Agriculture Extension Agent in the Tema West Municipality.
Mrs Adwoa Amoako, Municipal Chief Executive, Tema West Municipal Assembly, in a keynote address, paid glowing tribute to farmers and fisherfolks in the Municipality and said “in spite of the challenges Covid-19 posed to farmers nationwide, there was no shortage of food production in the country.”
This year’s Municipal Farmers’ Day commemoration, held at the Tema Senior High School in Tema Community Five, was on the national theme “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under Covid-19; Opportunities and Challenges.”
According to her, the theme for this year re-emphasized the position that the agricultural sector had placed itself in promoting agribusiness development under Covid – 19, which required the consumption of more fruits and vegetables to boost the immune system.
Mr Alfred Nii Ayi Clottey, Director of Agriculture, Tema West Municipal Assembly, said irrespective of the challenges of Covid-19, the municipality undertook some activities in crop production, market extension, fisheries and livestock production as it continued to work in communities to undertake the processing and marketing of agricultural produce.
Under the government’s flagship programme – Planting for Food and Jobs, he noted that some 769 farmers in the municipality benefited from highly subsidized prices for maize and vegetable inputs including improved seeds and fertilizers.
“As part of the programme, 321 farmers, both males and females, whose farms were affected by the fall army warm were supplied with agrochemicals by the government to spray and control the situation. This has resulted in a drastic reduction in the invasion of these warms due to extension education.”
50 farmers, he added, benefited from cockerels distributed under the government’s “Rearing for Food and Jobs” and said “in the area of fisheries, there was close collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries for fisheries activities in the municipality.”
Mr Ayi Clottey said the uncontrolled real estate development in Municipality was stripping urban Tema of fertile lands for agricultural purposes, explaining that it was detrimental to food security if the trend was not urgently reversed.
Mr Carlos Ahenkora, Member of Parliament, Tema West Constituency, whiles reiterating the takeover of agrarian lands by real estate developers in the municipality, said agriculture was struggling to maintain its stake and if care was not taken, lands would be unavailable in the future for commercial farming.