Accra, June 12, GNA - The Government has presented a cheque for GH¢ 480,000.00 to the 2018 National Best Farmer, Mr James Obeng Boateng.
Dr Afriyie Owusu Akoto, the Minister of Agriculture and Dr John Kofi Mensah, the Managing Director of ADB, jointly presented the cheque to the winner in Accra on Wednesday.
In a speech, Dr Akoto commended Mr Boateng for his commitment and impressive track record and acknowledged the stakeholders and past winners for their continued interest in ensuring that agriculture thrives in the country.
The Minister was elated with the paradigm shift from traditional approach where houses were built for award winners to winners having the options to choose between money and house.
He urged the winner to institute programmes to benefit his community and as well expand businesses for employment.
On his part, Dr Mensah said the decision for the bank to be the lead sponsor of the National Farmers Day Awards was conceived in 2001 with an initial idea to build a three bedroom fully-furnished house.
He said the Bank had so far built a total of 15 houses in various locations in Accra, Ashanti, and Brong Ahafo Regions.
Dr Mensah said the Bank had spent GH¢1.8 million on the awards, excluding the sponsorship of the National Farmers Forum and welcome cocktail.
"We are committed in ensuring that agriculture sector remains a critical part of the country's economic growth and as well expand the agricultural department into Agricultural Business Division. We are committed to support agriculture initiatives aimed at guaranteeing food sufficiency".
The National Best Farmer thanked the Ministry and ADB for the gesture and pledged to use the money to improve the 1,000 acre farm at Nyinase near Nkoranza, Brong Ahafo.
He indicated that part of the money would be used to build a two-bedroom farm house, buy a tractor, four polytanks, construct mechanised bore holes, and seeds, among others.
This according to him, this would lead to employment of 30 workers.
The 60-year-old James Boateng was adjudged the 2018 National Best Farmer at the 34th edition of the celebration held in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale.
He cultivated cassava, cocoyam, cereals, okro, pepper, garden eggs, mango and cashew, as well as rearing livestock like cattle, goats and sheep.
He also manages two fish ponds as well as 100 beehives.
Mr Boateng, a father of six from the Nkoranza South District of the Region, has been farming for the past 18 years.