The Agricultural Development Bank PLC (ADB) has fulfilled its sponsorship pledge to the 2021 National Best Farmer Alhaji Mashud Mohammed, with his prize money of Six Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc600,000).

The presentation ceremony, held in Accra, had the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto; his Deputy in charge of Crops, Yaw Frimpong Addo, the Managing Director of ADB , Dr.  John Kofi Mensah, other officials of the Bank and MOFA in attendance.

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyies Akoto in his remarks said the prize was a testament to Alhaji Mohammed’s hard work of engaging in the ministry’s flagship initiative, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).

He intimated that there were many farmers, as well as non-farmers, who had had their lives transformed after participating in the novel initiative.

The Minister said the 1D1F Program positively contributed to mitigate the fears of food shortages as posed by both the fall army warm infestation and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Ghana stood very firm and we still continue to be a net exporter of food to our neighbours,” he emphasised.

He, therefore, allayed the concerns and fears over food shortage due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying: “There is no need for anybody to panic; we will come out of it, just as we did with the COVID-19 and the fall armyworm.”

Dr. Akoto used the occasion to appeal to commercial banks to invest in local commercial farmers, encouraging the banks to partner with farmers and the government to further strengthen the agricultural sector as the backbone of the economy.

He said the support of the Banks would help in the expansion of the sector, and that would help create more wealth through the creation of more jobs.

“Look at the sector again. If, previously, there were prejudices against agriculture because of the high risk, now we have opened it up; there are huge areas in agribusiness and value chain development.

He further commended the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) for their continuous support to the Agricultural sector, especially the National Farmers Day celebration.

Dr. Mensah gave an assurance that the Bank would continue to support the government to reward gallant farmers and fishers.

“We remain committed to ensuring that the agricultural sector continues to play its critical role in the national economy,” he said

He highlighted the projects the bank had partnered the government to implement several projects, of which the PFJ was among.

He, however, acknowledged the problems in the sector, saying the bank was aware of the challenges facing the poultry sector and assured the country that there was a planned collaboration with MoFA and other stakeholders to address and strengthen the sector.

Receiving his award, Alhaji Mohammed, 44, said he would reinvest the money in his farm activities, particularly, broiler production, so that he would be able to create employment opportunities for young people.

He stressed that it was important for those already in the agricultural sector to make deliberate efforts to woo the youth into it, as that would not only provide a secure form of employment but also help in the security and sustenance of the sector.

The 2021 National Best Farmer expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the ADB and the government for their generosity and continued support that enabled him to attain his feat.

In the picture are the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto; his Deputy in charge of Crops, Yaw Frimpong Addo, the Managing Director of ADB , Dr.  John Kofi Mensah and the Deputy Managing Director, Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu-Tali.

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