Profile of National Best Farmer – 2017

Background

 

Mr. Philip Kwaku Agyemang is a 50-year-old farmer from the Dormaa West District Assembly of the Brong Ahafo Region. With only Basic education, Mr Agyemang has been farming for the past 28 years. His Farm, Awurade Na Aye Farms, employs a total of 205 workers, comprising 97 full-time employees, 80 casual employees, and 28 others, assisting in the capacity of family relations. The Farm is located within the Dormaa West District and other farming communities such as Ahenfiekrom, Mantuka, Bebone and Sikasu. Mr Agyemang is married with seven children.

 

Diversification/Integration of Farming

 

Mr. Agyemang’s farm is highly diversified with his crop enterprises covering the broad areas of roots and tubers (cassava and yam), cereals (rice and maize), vegetables (tomato, pepper, and cabbage), plantation crops (cocoa, oil palm, plantain, citrus^mango, cashew, and coconut) timber species (teak and terminalia). In terms of his animal enterprises, he has large ruminants (cattle), small ruminants (goats and sheep), exotic and local poultry birds (layers and broilers), turkeys, ducks, guinea fowls, grass cutters, and snails. Additionally, Mr Agyemang has 1 box of beehive, which has been colonised, a mushroom chamber containing 90 bags and two fish ponds stocked with tilapia and catfish.

 

Degree of Integration of Farming Operations

 

Mr. Agyemang cultivates crops and rears farm animals for very good reasons consistent with the principles of integration of farming operations. The leftovers of his crop harvests are used to feed his farm animals notably cattle, sheep and goats. Byproducts of his oil

palm processing firm constitute some of his Iced ingredients. The droppings of his farm animals constitute farmyard manure, which is applied to maintain soil fertility and cut back cost of inputs especially inorganic fertilizer. Besides, the manure is also used to fertilize his fish ponds. Fish products from his fish ponds are similarly used as feed ingredient for his poultry farm.

 

Knowledge of Husbandry Practices

 

Mr Agyemang has fairly good knowledge of crop husbandry practices. He has over the years obtained his planting materials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. He has employed good sanitation on his crop and animal farms to address the problem of pests and diseases. The practice of non-burning of harvest residue has helped to conserve soil moisture, while the use of farmyard manure has maintained soil fertility. Oil palm and shell nut processing constitute the core of processing activities of the crop enterprise. Planting and harvesting are both carried out manually, observing recommendations from Agricultural Extension Agents.

In terms of animal husbandry practices, Mr. Agyemang has good criteria for the selection of breeding animals. His desire to keep particular species of animal is motivated by the demands of the market and the monetary returns. He relies heavily on, the advice of the Veterinary Officer in charge of the community to address the health needs of his animals. Feeding of his cattle is done extensively through grazing, while he uses leftovers of harvested crops such as cassava to feed his small ruminants. He keeps to the structured vaccination regime to secure the health of his farm animals.

 

Scale of Operation

 

The scale of operation of his enterprises is as follows:

Crops Acreage Animal Numbers
Maize 74 Cattle 40
Rice 13 Sheep 35
Cassava 7 Gross cutter 5

 

Yam 2 Layers (cxolic) 40,000 ->
Tomato 6 Broilers (exotic) 6000
Pepper 0.5 Local birds 130
Cabbage 0.5 Guinea fowl 25
Citrus 3 Ducks 32
Cocoa 125 Mushroom 90 bags
Oil palm 18 Beehives (colonized) 1 box
Coconut 11 Fish ponds 2
Plantain 78 Snails 114
Teak 20 Cattle 57
Terminal ia 3500 trees Goats 42
Sheep 35

 

 

Environmental Awareness

 

Irregular rainfall pattern, bushfires and tree felling hinder his crop production. He staggers the planting of his crops to reduce the value of loss incurred in the event of rain failure. He also uses irrigation during the dry season. While trees are planted to serve as .. windbreak to curb the problem of lodging, fire belts are constructed to reduce the harmful effects of bushfires.

 

Record Keeping

 

Record keeping represents a permanent feature of the farm operations of Awurade Na Aye Farms. The Farm keeps several types of records for various reasons, some of which include:

  • To facilitate planning
  • To do profit-and-loss analysis
  • To facilitate loan acquisition
  • To track expenditure on labour

 

Adoption of Improved Technologies

 

Mr. Agyemang has acquired beneficial fanning technologies, which have impacted positively on his farming operations. Technologies acquires included:

  • Introduction of Drip irrigation
  • Use of egg sorter
  • Proper construction of poultry house to resist pest attack
  • Cleaning mixture, winnower and feed mill in poultry farms

 

Role of Farmer in the Community

 

For people in his farming community, Mr. Agyemang is regarded as a down-to-earth person, and a role model, who without any doubt is a source of motivation for the youth in the community. He is the Chairman of the Nkrankwanta Poultry Farmers Association.

He has three awards, namely:

  • National Best Farmer (2nd Runner-Up) for 2011
  • Brong Ahafo Regional Best Poultry Farmer for 2001
  • Dormaa District Best Farmer for 1994

As part of the social responsibility to his community, Mr. Agyemajig has undertaken the following projects:

  • Donation of electricity pools to Nkrankwanta.
  • Educational sponsorship to needy but brilliant orphans.
  • Construction of dormitory for Nkrankwanta Senior High School.
  • Donation of house to the Department of Agriculture, Dormaa District Assembly.

 

General Impression

 

Awurade Na Aye Farms is highly diversified in both the crop and farm animal enterprises, with its own commercial feed mill for the poultry section of the Farm. Besides, the Farm is strong in producing palm kernel oil for the export market. By his accomplishments, Mr. Agycmnng has given true inclining to the thinking that the low level of formal education is not n limitation to achievement and that with strong willpower, high level of commitment and tenacity of purpose, it is possible to succeed. The rather poor road network to some of his farms has not dampened his resolve to move on in spite of the difficulties. It is also instructive to note that his innovative marketing strategies have made it possible to reacli out to both the local and export market within the sub-region. Mr. Agyemang has demonstrated the needed business insight that is likely to motivate the Ghanaian youth to go into farming notwithstanding the obvious challenges.