General News of Thursday, 8 November 2012

Source: Daily Searchlight Newspaper

Farmers rage over 'fake best farmer' award

Farmers all over the country are furious over the decision of the National Best Farmer Award Committee to give the enviable award title to an ordinary foot soldier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) when he does not meet even half the criteria needed to win the award.

The farmers who spoke to the Daily Searchlight said the National Farmers' Day Committee has dragged the image of the award into the mud when it took the decision to adjudge thirty-eight (38) year-old Lemuel Kwashie Martey of Mannah Farms Limited as the National Best Farmer without doing proper due diligence.

Investigations conducted by this paper however indicates that the 2012 National Best Farmer was awarded the title unjustifiably and it was only motivated by the fact that he is a dyed-in-the wool NDC sympathiser and holds an executive position in the Kpone Katamanso Constituency of the Greater Accra Region.

The farmers said they have been working extremely hard on daily basis to be able to supply the food needed to feed the nation, the least they expected is for their hard work to be taken over by partisan politics.

The 2012 National Best Farmer can only boast of a rice farm situated on about 5 acre of land and a fish pond at Mataheko, a suburb of Afienya.

A visit to the farm by the Daily Searchlight scouts however revealed that the rice farm is at the very early stages and far from being ready for harvesting.

Most of the farmers are calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding 2012 farmers' day awards to save the image of their only means of recognition as farmers of the Republic of Ghana.

Others also believed that they are more than qualified to have won the award looking at the hard and tireless work they have done within the past one year.

“I have done enough and have more than enough to show as a successful farmer. We cannot reduce this prestigious event to a political one. This is a shame to the Agric Ministry and the government of the day. If it is based on these mediocre criteria, majority of the nation's farmers would have been national best farmers.

This cannot be left to go scot-free. We must investigate to unravel the truth or otherwise of the story,” an angry farmer lamented.

Another farmer bewailed, “You wouldn't believe your eyes when I send you to my farms. I have done so much that I could have won the award for this year. Let nobody be mistaken about the fact that some of us are jealous about the prize at stake because that doesn't mean anything to some of us. A three-bedroom house and a pick-up vehicle is not worth more than what I produce every month. The joy of being called the National Best Farmer is the recognition you receive for what you do. This issue must be investigated,” they said.

The Daily Searchlight's scouts are still on the grounds to get first-hand information on the activities on the Mannah Farms Limited of the 2012 National Best Farmer, Lamuel Kwashie Martey.