ATIWA EAST DISTRICT HONOURS TWENTY FARMERS AT THE 36TH NATIONAL FARMERS DAY CELEBRATION 6TH NOVEMBER, 2020Twenty Farmers in the Atiwa East District were awarded during the 36th National Farmers Day Celebration that was held at Enyiresi in the Atiwa East District.Mrs. Evelyn Vandapuye, a 42-year-old female farmer was adjudged the Overall Best Farmer in the District. Mrs. Evelyn Vandapuye currently owns 10 acres of sweet berries, 200 pigs, goats,1,200 poultry birds, 25 acres of coconut, 40 acres of cocoa, maize, cocoyam and plantain farms as well as a cold store. She took home a 200 horsepower Apsonic tri-cycle, a motorized mist blower, Knapsack sprayer, Wellington boots, bars of key soap, cutlasses and a half piece of cloth. She also received a cash donation of an amount of GHC 4000 from the Member of Parliament.In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Vandapuye said that she was trained as a Car Sprayer before going into farming about 10 years ago. She recalled been advised to go into livestock years ago at a training that was organized by the department of agriculture and said that has been a decision that has brought her this far.Speaking at the event, the Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon. Abena Osei-Asare commended farmers for their hard work that ensured that Ghana did not run out of food amid Covid-19. She said that the government was particular about the development of agriculture in the country and that is evidenced in the flagship programs such Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development among others. The member of parliament was excited to learn that five females including the overall best farmer were part of the awardees. The District Chief Executive, Hon. Kwabena Panin Nkansah in delivering the keynote address cited “ Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19 – Opportunities and Challenges as the theme for the celebration . He indicated that the theme was a reflection of the key role of Agriculture in the economic development of the country. He underscored the various interventions of government in minimizing the negative impact of COVID-19 on the Agric sector. He further stressed that the ability of the country to respond positively to the challenges of COVID-19 has vindicated the government’s interventions and priority placed on Agriculture. He also stated that the emergence of COVID-19 has enabled the government to leverage on opportunities locally to boost the production of food and ensured food security in the country amidst the pandemic. He urged the public to truncate their taste for imported goods and patronize locally produced goods to boost investment into agriculture.He outlined the key interventions of government in the agriculture sector and emphasized the gains made in the District. He stressed that hundreds of farmers in the District have benefited from the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Special Rice Initiative among other programmes introduced. He commended the department of agriculture for the initiative to brand rice produced in the District. He professed the Assembly’s support to supply additional rice nets and threshers to farmers and also establish a satellite market at Sekyere to promote the production and marketing of rice in the District. He hinted of the Assembly’s vision of becoming the leading producer of rice in the country. He finally remarked that the ultimate aim of the government in rolling out the various flagship programs was to stimulate the interest of Ghanaians in Agriculture and see it as a business worth investing. He ended his address by encouraging the citizenry to ensure a peaceful General Election come December 7, 2020.The various winners took home motorized tricycles, motorbikes, wheelbarrows, knapsack sprayers, clothes, TVs, refrigerators among other electrical appliances and farm inputs. In presenting the awards, the District Director of Agriculture, Mr. Samuel Ofosu remarked that the district introduced two new awards ie. the Best Enterprising Youth Farmer and the Best Collaborative Farmer. He explained that the Best Enterprising Youth Farmer was an award to encourage the youth and the Best Collaborative Farmer was to encourage farmers who supported extension delivery and the programs of the department.The Best Enterprising Youth Farmer, Mr. Eric Coffie is a twenty-eight-year-old male farmer who owns 8 acres of cocoa, 8 acres of Plantain, 3 acres of Cocoyam, 5 acres of Maize, 5 acres of cassava, and over 150 local birds The Best Collaborative Farmer is a 35-year-old female farmer who tremendously supported the programs of the department. She has successfully mobilize 30 women in forming an FBO that undertake Women In Agriculture Development projects. The chairman for the occasion commended government for their various interventions in the Agric sector which has ensured food security in the country amidst COVID-19.