Profile of National Best Farmer – 2016

BACKGROUND

 

Mr. Robert Crentsil, a 42-year -old man started farming 20 years ago resulting in the establishment of Bob Farms and Company Ltd. His farms are located at Amanfodo, Faamanye, and Nkokota in the Ejumako-Eyan District of the Central Region and Domeabra in the Eastern Region. He has a wife and three children. In terms of employment, Mr. Crentsil has engaged 20 full­time workers, 200 casuals during the peak of the season with 10 family members supporting his farm business. He had secondary education.

 

DIVERSIFICATION/INTEGRATION OF FARMING

 

Mr.Crentsil does his farming business by cultivating crops and rearing livestock that are very well integrated. He cultivates root and tuber crops, cereals, legumes, vegetables and plantation crops. His livestock enterprise includes pigs, large ruminants, small ruminant, poultry and snails. Some benefits of the integration of his farm enterprises are that he uses dried cocoa leaves as beddings for his snail farm, plantain leaves and cassava peals to feed livestock, income from the sale of poultry products to pay for labour on his crop farms, while the droppings from the poultry is used to fertilize the land for crop production.

 

 

KNOWLEDGE OF HUSBANDRY PRACTICES

The farmer has a very good knowledge about crop and animal husbandry practice. He gets most of his planting materials such as plantain suckers from the District office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) at Esikuma, his cocoa seedlings from the seed unit of Ghana Cocoa Board, and rubber seedlings from Ghana Rubber Estate Limited. Through the advice of the Extension Officer of MoFA, Mr. Crentsil applies good agricultural practices in the production of the crops and keeping of livestock. Some of his good agricultural practices include the use of farmyard manure, cultivation of leguminous crops and green manuring to fertilize the soil.

He controls pest and diseases on his farm using recommended agrochemicals on the advice of the Extension agent. He always has to rely on veterinary officers for the selection of good animals for breeding and also relies on their advice to ensure that his animals are always in good health.

SCALE OF OPERATION

 

The scale of operation of crop and animal enterprises by Mr. Crentsil are presented below:

CROPS ACREAGES ANIMALS NUMBER
Cocoa 120 Pig 190
Rubber 80 Goat 30
Plantain 60 Cattle 50
Cassava 30 Poultry 20,000
Oil Palm 7 Sheep 12
Coconut 6 Snail 1,000
Citrus 15 Fish cage 22
Okro 1
Garden egg 1
Sugar cane 2
Pepper 2
Tomato 2
Cowpea 60
Rice 2

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

 

The farmer is very conscious of the environmental factors affecting his enterprises in his locality He mentioned that too much rainfall has caused flooding on sections of the crop farm, while limited rainfall had affected budding and processing of rubber. Additionally strong wind occasionally had caused lodging in his plantain farm. To mitigate these effects, he uses oil palm as boundary crop to serve wind brake; creates trenches to ease the flow of flood water and construct fire belt to prevent the negative effect of bushfires.

 

MAJOR FARMING CONSTRAINTS / INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS

 

The major farming constraints cited by the farmer included:

 

  • Badroads
  • High cost of capital
  • Occasional cases of theft on his farm
  • High water bills
  • Occasional power outages

 

The farmer employs the following measures to overcome these problems mentioned:

 

  • Periodic maintenance of bad road using communal labour
  • Diversification of his enterprises to raise more capital for expansion

Engagement of more security on the farm to

  • deal with cases of theft
  • Sinking of boreholes to provide water for his operation
  • Use of plant to provide alternative source of power

 

RECORDS KEEPING

 

Mr. Crentsil keeps records on his crop and livestock enterprises for very good reasons.

Some of his reasons for keeping records include:

 

I. To facilitate access to bank loans
II. For easy references
III. To determine profit and loss
IV. To track livestock numbers
V. For easy debt reconciliation
VI. For management of labour issues

 

ADOPTION OF IMPROVED TECHNOLOGIES

 

Mr. Crentsil has learnt and adopted many agronomic practices from the MOFA extension agents. These include planting of crops in rows and at the correct spacing, proper pruning methods to increase yield and application of vaccines.

The farmer has the needed tools and equipment to undertake his farming operations. The tools and equipment are cleaned, greased and stored when not in use. He relies on trained mec