The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, in collaboration with the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), has officially handed over the keys to a fully furnished three-bedroom house to the 2016 national best farmer, Robert Crentsil at Apra near Kasoa in the Central Region. Mr Crentsil, who hails from Ajumako Enyan-Essiam district in the Central Region, was adjudged the top prize for being named the nation’s best farmer in 2016 after 20 years of active farming.

The fully-furnished house, built at the location chosen by the beneficiary, comes with a double leaf metal gate, a kitchen, dining hall, living room, a water storage system and a garage, among other essential amenities. The ceremony was graced by the Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, Chief of Gomoa, Kofi Mensah and the acting Chief Director at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, alongside management and staff of ADB.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Regional Minister applauded ADB for their continuous support towards the national best farmer awards over the years. ADB is the institution that has taken upon itself to support this noble course since 2001. For the past 16 years, they have been there to motivate our farmers to make them commit to the job they are doing to feed us. It’s the one and only farmer’s bank, the one and only fisher’s bank, the Agric Development Bank. There is no question about it that, but for the role that they have played since their establishment, I am not sure we would not have developed the agriculture sector to where it is now. I use this opportunity to pat the bank and its management on the back.”

“There is a lot of joy in my soul today, that assuming office just under a year ago, I have the honour to attend this auspicious program, where one of our own is been honoured for the glory he has brought onto himself, onto his community and onto the entire region. I am really proud and I feel happy as the Regional Minister.” The Regional Minister also acknowledged the hitches in the agriculture sector and the need to modernize it for expansion and creation of jobs.

“This is a government that recognizes that the way to grow our economy and to develop our country is agriculture. There is a major problem of modernising agriculture, and linking agricultural production to industries in order for industrialization, which has been and still remains a core objective of the president and the government,” he said. “For once there is a need as a country to get the value addition in order to create the much-needed jobs for our teeming youths.”

Dr. John Kofi Mensah, Managing Director of ADB, in his address said, over the past 16 years the ADB, in line with its corporate social responsibility as a bank, has through its funding, produced about 16 fully furnished houses to farmers across the country to help motivate them. He also revealed the construction of the house was done at a cost of 400,000 Ghana Cedis. “ADB Bank became the headline sponsor of the National Best Farmers’ Award programme in 2001 and has since then, integrated sponsorship of the awards ceremony in our corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. Since becoming the main sponsors of this important national award, every year, we devote a significant percentage of bank’s budget to sponsor a fully-furnished, three-bedroom house at the preferred location of this ultimate winner. The house today is, therefore, the 16th to be delivered since the introduction of this ultimate reward for the national best farmer,” he said.

“Today, Mr Robert Crentsil, the 2016 National Best Farmer is being rewarded with his grand prize of a three-bedroom house in this serene Gomoa Apra Valley, valued at an amount of GH 400.000 (four hundred thousand Ghana cedis).”The Managing Director was of the view that, the bank’s gesture over the years has infused into Ghanaians the need to engage in agriculture which is a major industry in the country.

“I am of the firm conviction that the provision of 16 houses to the national best farmer’s award winners since 2001 has gingered Ghanaians to develop a keener interest in farming and agriculture value-chain businesses and have by extension, boosted food production in the country. “I am also more persuaded that this laudable sponsorship initiative by ADB in collaboration with MOFA and blessed by the Government has contributed immensely to the interest of Ghanaians in farming,” he added. Presenting the keys to the house, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture Robert P. Ankorbeah called on other stakeholders to emulate the gesture of ADB to bring to an end to poverty and hunger in the country.

“There is, therefore, the need for a concerted effort to promote the development of agriculture in order to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living in the country,” he said.
“I seize this opportunity to urge corporate Ghana particularly financial institutions to emulate the example of the ADB to give more support to agriculture to complement the efforts of the government to modernise and transform this very important sector.”

In an acceptance speech, the 2016 best farmer expressed his gratitude to the government and ADB for the award and advised past winners not to give up the fight to improve and produce more to be deserving of greater awards.

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