A) CRITERIA FOR SELECTING THE BEST FARMER:
A farmer’s activities are closely monitored and assessed by Agricultural Extension officers over the farming season and preliminary selections made at the District and Regional levels using the following criteria:
i) Diversified and Integrated Farming Operations:
For example, raising livestock and crops and using the crop residue to feed the livestock and the livestock waste to nourish the crops.
ii) Scale of Operation:
Various scales of operation, small, medium and large are considered. Size and number of various enterprises identified in (i) above, e.g. acreage of crops, number of livestock and poultry, surface area of fishpond(s), number of beehives and the yield realized from these are used to classify scale of operation.
iii) Knowledge of Husbandry Practices:
The farmer should be conversant with cultural practices such as fertilizer application, weed, pest and disease control as well as scientific animal production techniques.
iv) Environmental Awareness and Relevant Practices:
An award winning farmer should be aware of the problems of the environment and the measures needed to be taken to alleviate their harmful effects. He/she should be aware of factors such as control of bush burning, soil erosion control and other soil and water management practices.
v) Identification of Farming Problems and Innovation:
A good farmer should be able to identify and evolve or institute measures to combat periodic or perennial problems connected with his/her farm project.
vi) Records Keeping:
An aspirant award winning farmer should have adequate knowledge in farm record keeping that will assist him/her to evaluate the success or failure or the enterprise.
vii) Adoption of New Technology:
The farmer should prove that he or she is abreast with innovations with regard to improved practices, inputs and techniques which will increase his/her agricultural productivity.
viii) Farmer’s Role in his or her Community:
To be considered as an award winner, the farmer must contribute towards the growth of the community in which he or she lives. He or she should extend to, or share knowledge with other farmers in the community.
ix) General Impression of Farmer and Farm
The general outlook of the farmer and his farm is very important. The farmer should be able to identify general or specific problems connected with the farm and be aware of the institutions to consult for help.
B) CRITERIA FOR BEST FISHERMAN AWARD
The following criteria are also considered in selecting the Best Fisherman of the year.
Knowledge of the fisheries resource that he or she harvests. Types of fisheries resource including spawning grounds, spawning periods, breeding grounds and fishing grounds that he or she has established.
Knowledge of the Fisheries Laws:
The fisherman should know at least some of the laws governing fishing and the management of the resource. For instance, types of nets allowed in the marine and inland sectors registration of canoes, etc.
Safety at Sea:
For example, the fisherman should be seen to be maintaining his outboard motors and canoes and take paddles to sea in addition to the outboard motor.
Conflict and Conflict Management:
The fisherman should know what brings about conflicts between competitors, how to avoid conflicts and how to manage them when they occur.
Post Harvest Activities:
He should be seen to handle fish in a hygienic manner. Preserve the catch for market.
The fisherman should know the management options that apply to the fisheries management. He should be a strong supporter of the Community Based Fisheries
Management Committee (CBFMC) and should be seen to be applying the bye -laws of the Committee.
Other Income Generating Activities:
The fisherman and his employees should be having some other income generating activities other than fishing.
The Fisherman should be aware that his fishing activities should not impact negatively on the environment.
C) HOW REGIONAL AND NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS ARE SELECTED
Field officers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture under the supervision of their respective Regional Directors select three farmers and fishermen in each region, taking into account the various criteria mentioned above.
The names and locations of these farmers and fishermen in each region are sent to MOFA for onward transmission to the Selection Committee.
Committee tours the Regions and visits the farms and fishing communities from one region to the other. A regional Best Farmer/Fisherman is selected for each Region with two runners-up.
Membership of the Selection Committee is as follows:
Representatives from the country’s Public Universities: (University of Ghana, KNUST, UDS and UCC), Research Institutions and MOFA.
From the list of nominated best farmers and fishermen of the ten regions, the National Best Farmer and Fisherman are selected after a thorough screening.