The 2018 National Best Farmer First Runner up has told Rite FM the critical interventionary role farming played in her quest to attain education.
Madam Charity Akotia, a mother of four who has been farming since the tender age of twelve with her mother explained that the farming venture at that age was to help her continue with her education following the separation of her parents.
The professional teacher cum farmer revealed that she was compelled to lease one hectare of land during her secondary education to cultivate okra and pepper which she processed into powder and paste to see herself through the second cycle education.
Further confronted with financial challenges amid her resolve to pursue the expansion of her agribusiness ventures, the industrious Madam Charity Akotia narrated that she borrowed Gh¢ 5,000 from the Teachers Common Funds as a teacher trainee while in the Teacher Training College (TTC) in 2006 to acquire a piece of land for the purpose of farming.
This she said was as a result of the several land litigations she was confronted with while leasing lands from various lessors for her farming activities.
The First Runner up, Madam Charity Akotia also noted that women are better off venturing into commercial farming as a source of livelihood than depending on their husbands.
Madam Akotia, a professional teacher in an interview with host of the Rite Morning Ride, Austin Ofori Addo posited strongly that women stand to empower themselves economically if they took up farming as a source of livelihood instead of over depending on their husbands financially.
Citing her own background as an example, the nation’s second best farmer maintained that she does not depend on her husband financially for her upkeep, rather she depends on her own resources.
Hear her: “I don’t depend on my husband for housekeeping money to run the home, but rather depend on the proceeds from my farms to run the house economically, pay for the fees of my children while assisting others in society,” she asserted.
The National Best Farmer First Runner- Up who now owns 283 hectares of land said she now leases parts of her land to others while farming on the rest.
Madam Akotia cultivates 40 hectares of cocoa, 40 hectares of coconut plantation, 35 hectares of plantain, 7 hectares of maize, and hectares of cocoyam.
She currently has 47 permanent workers and 107 casual workers who are managing various farms for her.
The awardee who is based in the Central Region, was adjudged the 1st Runner-Up, while Alex Frimpong, who farms in the Kwahu Afram Plains of the Eastern Region, came in third.
She came second to 60-year old James Obeng Boateng from the Brong Ahafo Region who was adjudged the 2018 National Best Farmer.
The 34th edition of the celebration was held in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, where he was presented with a GHc 480,000 cheque by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Boateng, a father of six from the Nkoranza South District of the region, has been farming for the past 18 years.
He cultivates 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
The National Farmers’ Day was instituted in 1985 in recognition of the role farmers and fishers play in the economy.
The prize for the first best farmer notably comprised two machetes, a pair of Wellington boots and a preset radio at a national durbar held at Osino in the Eastern Region in 1985.
Source: Prince Paul Amuzu / www.ritefmonline.org / firstname.lastname@example.org