Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has awarded five distinguished farmers at the National Level during the 32nd National Farmer’s Day celebration held at Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region, in recognition of their contributions to the development of the cocoa, coffee and shea business in particular and the country’s economy as a whole. This is in addition to other regional and district awards to deserving cocoa and coffee farmers and shea nut pickers.

The event, which was held under the theme: ‘Agriculture: A Business Response to Economic Growth’, brought together farmers from various agricultural fields to be celebrated for their hard work.

Mr. Opoku Gyamfi, 54 years, from Amadu Nkwanta in the Sankore Cocoa District of the Brong Ahafo Region was adjudged the 2016 National Best Cocoa Farmer. He took home a brand new Toyota Hilux Pick-up, 2 full pieces of GTP cloth, 32 inch television set, 6 machetes, a motorized spraying machine, a complete set of protective clothing, 12 litres of insecticides and a plaque.

Mr. Kwabena Boateng, 38, and a farmer at Brofoyedru in the Adansi South District of the Ashanti Region picked up the 2016 National Best Coffee Farmer Award. He received a brand new tricycle, double door fridge, a full piece of GTP cloth, a complete set of protective clothing, knapsack sprayer, 4 machetes, 5 pairs of hand gloves, 12 litres insecticides and a plaque.

The National Best Shea Nut Picker Award went to 51-year-old Madam Hasiatu Halidu, from Kpalsi in the Sagnarigu District of the Northern Region. She went home with a brand new tricycle, a double door fridge, a full piece of GTP cloth, 4 pairs of hand gloves, a CD/Radio Player, a pair of wellington boot and a plaque.

COCOBOD recently introduced two award schemes to encourage and attract the youth into the cocoa business. These are the Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer Award and the Most Enterprising Female Cocoa Farmer Award. This year, Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer Award was sponsored by Meiji, a chocolate company from Japan. Mustapha Yussif, 35, from Oda in the Eastern Region who picked the Most Promising Young Cocoa Farmer Award, went home with a brand new tricycle, 4 machetes, a motorized spraying machine, 12 litres insecticide, a full piece of GTP Cloth, a complete set of protective clothing and a plaque while Madam Martha Addai, 47, from Wenchi-Ayigbe, Sunyani West emerged the 2016 Most Enterprising Female Cocoa Farmer, going home with the same award package.

Presenting the awards on behalf of the Chief Executive, Dr. Francis Kofi Oppong, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Agronomy & Quality Control, commended the farmers for their immense role in helping to sustain Ghana’s economy adding, farmers work to provide the much needed food for the country and the required foreign exchange for economic growth.

Dr. Oppong advised cocoa farmers to observe good agronomic practices to ensure higher yield. He was grateful to all the awardees, particularly those in cocoa, coffee and shea sectors for working tirelessly to promote the production of the cash crops and appealed to the youth to consider the incentives provided by COCOBOD to venture into mainstream cocoa farming. He further advised against the sale of cocoa lands for illegal gold mining activities as it posed a threat to several interventions being rolled out to increase cocoa productivity.

Meanwhile, COCOBOD spent a total of Four Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Four Ghana Cedis (GH?474,384.00) on awards for 167 Cocoa, Coffee and Shea Farmers at the District, Regional and National levels during the 2016 Farmer’s Day celebrations.

Source: Public Affairs Department