…says women have key role under PFJ II
The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Bryan Acheampong, has lauded Charity Akortia for emerging winner of the 2023 National Best Farmer awards.
Ms. Akortia, a 57-year-old woman from Agona West municipality in the Central Region, was crowned National Best Farmer for 2023 during the awards night’s 39th edition held in Tarkwa, Western Region. For winning the overall prize, she received a cash prize of GH¢1million sponsored by the Agriculture Development Bank.
Theophilus Ezenrane Ackah from the Western Region was adjudged first runner-up. He took home a high horsepower tractor-head, trailer, a set of implements and a boom sprayer, sponsored by Ghana Exim Bank.
The second runner-up spot went to Kwaku Yeboah Asumah from Bono East Region. He went home with an MF tractor-head, trailer and set of implements, sponsored by Stanbic Bank.
The awardees were honoured at the 39th National Farmers Day Celebration Awards Night, held at the University of Mines and Technology Auditorium at Tarkwa in the Western Region on Friday night.
The minister indicated that women play a key role under PFJ 2.0, as they comprise a quarter of the world’s population and play an integral role in global food production.
The last time a woman emerged as national farmer was in 2024, when a 75-year-old Madam Afua Frimponmaa won the National Best Farmer Awards.
The male and female difference reflects the gender gap in agricultural sector participation, including farmers and other value chain actors. Despite women’s important role, they rarely have equal access to opportunities in agriculture. They also have little say, if any, in decision-making around household spending and the land they will have to cultivate, Dr. Bryan lamented
“It is in this connection that President Akuffo-Addo and I led an engagement with the National House of Chiefs two months ago, to appeal for the release of arable lands for production,” he said.
Dr. Bryan indicated that under his leadership, “Agriculture cannot continue to be business as usual if we want to achieve a sustainable and resilient food system that assures food security in the face of future shocks”.
Ghana’s agriculture sector is characterised by low productivity, with many farmers achieving less than 60 percent of the potential crop yields. “Post-harvest losses of about 10 percent to as high as 70 percent in the agriculture sector is unacceptable,” Dr. Acheampong said.
Against this background, he said, government is leading a strategy to change things to better-enable farmers to get desired results from their hard work. He indicated that women have a key role to play in the sector, especially with the imminent roll-out of social agriculture interventions that support rural women to catch up in terms of production.
According to the minister, the second phase of Planting for Foods and Jobs (PFJ II) introduced by government “is a game-changer that will help eliminate or reduce the challenges that have militated against attaining a sustainable and resilient food system”.
The minister said PFJ 2.0 will therefore scale up the adoption of new and improved technologies so as to contribute in sustainable food security and resilience by 2028.
PFJ II is private sector-driven and focuses on eleven selected commodity value chains – which when fully developed can contribute to transformation of the sector. These are grains – maize, rice, soybean and sorghum; vegetables – tomato, pepper and onion; roots and tubers – cassava and yam; and plantain and poultry.
While the programme’s focus is on implementing an efficient input credit system, the underpinning goals are to ensure food availability, reduce food price inflation; promote import substitution, exports; create jobs and ensure food security and resilience.
The smart input credit system aims to enhance operations of all value chain actors involved in production and processing of the eleven selected commodity value chains. Additionally, it will provide a framework for interconnectedness of the value chain actors, whereby smart solutions can be delivered in a seamless, efficient and effective manner.
He urged all agricultural stakeholders – farmers, input dealers, financial institutions, traders, processors, our revered chiefs, the youth and women – to embrace the PFJ Phase II.
“To ensure targets are met, a digital technology system will be deployed for continuous data collection, monitoring and reporting to ensure remedial actions are taken promptly to keep the programme on track.
“The enabling policy environment will trigger increased financing to the private sector, enabling us to achieve the targetted objectives,” the minister further noted.
Charity Akortia’s story
Charity Akortia, owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Greenworth Farm, scored 85.6 percent to emerge 2023 National Best Farmer, while her close contender Theophilus Ezenrane Ackah scored 76.1 percent to pick up the first runner-up spot.
Charity Akortia has a diversified farm with both crops and animal-husbandry.
Her farm is highly diversified, with crop enterprises covering the broad areas of roots and tubers, cereals, vegetables, plantation crops, legumes and timber species.
The livestock enterprises consist of large ruminants, small ruminants, pigs, rabbits, grasscutters and local and exotic poultry.
In addition, Ms. Akortia has 185 boxes of beehives, which have been colonised with bees, and two fish ponds stocked with tilapia and catfish. She also has 1,200 bags of mushrooms.
Ms. Akortia is into the cultivation of about 36 different crops with varied acreage, including 33 acres of cocoa farm, 88 acres of coconut farm, 450 acres of maize farm, 64 acres of mango and 120 acres of rice farm.
Additionally, Ms. Akortia rears varied animals such as 467 cattle, 1,023 pigs, 107 goats, 550 sheep, 97 rabbits, 85,000 exotic poultry, 3,700 snails 185 boxes of beehives, local poultry, guinea fowl and ducks, among others.
The 57-year-old farmer from the Agona East district of Central Region, with tertiary education, has been farming for the past 30 years; employing a total of 277 workers comprising 64 full-time employees and 212 casual employees.
The farms are located in the Agona East, Agona West, Ekumfi and Ketu-North districts.
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