The agricultural sector provides a solid backbone to the economy. The achievement and sustenance of food security and food sufficiency in the country, it worthy or note that our gallant farmers are deservedly appreciated and recognized for their hard work.

The immense role women play in the agricultural value chain is also worthy of note, it therefore a great feat when we have a woman being adjudged the NATIONAL BEST FARMER.

57-year old MADAM CHARITY AKORTIA from the Agona West Municipality in the Central Region was crowned as the National Best Farmer for 2023. For her prize, Charity Akortia received a cash prize of GH¢1 million sponsored by the Agriculture Development Bank.

Theophilus Ezenrane Ackah from the Western Region was adjudged the first runner up. He took home a high horsepower tractor head, trailer, a set of implements, and a boom sprayer.

His prize was sponsored by the Ghana Exim Bank.The second runner up award was taken by Kwaku Yeboah Asumah from the Bono East Region.His prize was an MF tractor head, trailer, and set of implements.

This was sponsored Stanbic Bank.The awardees were honored at the 39th National Farmers Day Celebration Awards Night held at the University of Mines and Technology Auditorium at Tarkwa in the Western Region on Friday night (Dec 1).It is remarkable that a woman has been recognized in this enviable feat.

The Ghanaiannews Canada got the opportunity for an exclusive with Madam Charity Akortia.

What follows is insightful conversation with Mr. Russell Quarcoo, of Ghanaiannews Canada Ghanaiannews Canada: Congratulations!

Ghanaiannews Canada: How does it feel being adjudged the NATIONAL BEST FARMER?

Madam Charity Akortia: I was so delighted and grateful.

Ghanaiannews Canada: Briefly tell us about your background and how you ventured into agriculture

Madam Charity Akortia: Iam from Peki in the Volta region, a child raised from a farming home.

During secondary school, I was working at the then Peki settlement farm to get funds to support my education.

In addition I was also engaging in small Okro farms on weekends during the season to support my education, so after training college I made a decision to enter into vegetable production, i.e. raising of local vegetables for sale until I met a PPR (plants protection Regulation) officer of the Ministry Food and of Agriculture, Mr. Ramson Cotto who introduced me into seed production, fortunately my husband Mr. John Amenu is also into Agriculture, and as result gave me a lot of technical advice.

Due to the passion and financial returns I was earning that was far above what I was earning in terms of salary as a teacher, I finally decided to venture fully into agriculture as a business. Ghanaiannews Canada: What motivated you into farming?

Madam Charity Akortia: Well primarily I would say it was basically because the financial returns was rewarding. And that made me decide to fully take it up as a business.

Let me also add that, when I was a child I accompanied and assisted my parents to the farm. So I would say the desire the farm started early on when I was a child and it has not left me since.

So growing up I realized that when I venture into farming full time, I can employ the youth who are unemployed to work on my farm or to support fellow women. Additionally, the common held perception was that farming was the preserve of men so I decided the challenge myself to venture into farming commercially as a woman.

Ghanaiannews Canada: Before your significant transition as CEO of Greenworth farms, what were some the challenges that affected your farming experience from the onset?Madam Charity Akortia: Ah…Well, there were a lot of challenges, but I can only mention a few of them.

The first is the issue of land acquisition. How to get land to start the work. Secondly, is the issue of not getting any form of financial support or access to funds in the form of loans as a peasant farmer.

Then also is the non-availability of inputs, like seeds is another problem. In addition to these challenges, it was also difficult to get good human resource by way of trusted employees to work on the farm, as a result there were incidence of theft among other issues made it quite challenging.

Also was the issue of irrigation that we had to access to irrigate the crops.How did I make a headway? First with the issue of land, I would say my farms are scattered at all places so to speak.

To wit, wherever I get the land and it’s suitable and the price is negotiable, I acquire it. Therefore to start with I had 15 acres of land, 10 acres, 2 acres of land until I had large acreage of land making overall enterprise quite difficult.

Issue of Access to Finance

Also regarding the financial challenge, what I did as I started the vegetable business was to reinvest the returns into the business because the financial institutions were not ready to support a peasant farmer.Then again concerning the human resource challenge, sometime I had to go to as far as Burkina Faso to get laborers because they are somehow trusted than the local farm hands, I also get some few hands as leaders or foremen to supervise the work.

This eventually made the work a bit easier as compared to how I started initially at which time they take money and no work is done, and I had to spend precious time chasing them all over. But with this strategy the whole operation became manageable.Overcoming the problem of Theft What my workers did was to organize themselves and watch overnight on the farms.

You at Agona here in the central region, Thursdays are market days and those are the days the thieves go the farms to steal the farm produce to go and sell on the market, so we organize checkups at the farm gate and that significantly reduced the incidence of thievery to a very low level Improvising to irrigate the cropsWhat we did was to have hand dug wells on the farms to irrigate the crops.

Unfortunately we realized the water at some places were salty, thus we had to organize for water tankers to bring water from nearby water bodies the farms to water the crops and also be able to perform other tasks like spraying pesticides to protect the crops before harvest. This was how I managed those challenges at the onset.

Ghanaiannews Canada: Your farm is diversified, tell us how you are able to coordinate affairs on all the various crops and animal husbandry that you do?

Madam Charity Akortia: What I do is. I have employees in charge of the various farms who report on a daily basis to the General supervisor, who reports to me on a daily and weekly basis.

I also have a financial secretary who is basically in charge of all finance matters, i.e. payment of salaries, statutory payments like SSNIT etc…

We have an excel spreadsheet for reporting, that makes it easier to track progress and also monitor and forecast management activities on the various farms. In fact members of my family are involved.

My husband is a strong pillar. He assists in coordinating and monitoring affairs on the various farms.My daughter is into processing, my son also handles book keeping, accounts and Finance. So without the support of my family. It would have been very difficult for meHelping out in the Community through CSR

Ghanaiannews Canada: You are obviously a pillar in your community, please tell us some of the CSR support activities you engage in to help the community.

Madam Charity Akortia: Yes, eerm. I provide local vegetable seeds and seedlings that is pepper, garden eggs and maize to markets around my area and also beyond to other districts. I also engage women in training on best farming practices, and agro processing periodically.

I also support schools with learning materials like books and pens and also eggs to augment their protein needs.I also donate food items to the needy especially widows in the community.

In addition to that I also support Osamkrom prison camp inmates with food items. Last year for instance I registered 72 inmates on the National Health Insurance scheme.

That’s not all I also donated Nsuamyem basic school with 600 exercise books. In the year 2020 in made hand dug wells for communities who experienced water crisis in Mensakrom where some of my farms were located.

Ghanaiannews Canada: What will be your advice to anyone who wants to venture into farming?

Madam Charity Akortia:

First I would say that, they shouldn’t see it as a punishment as is perceived especially by the youth.

They should see it as a viable business venture. One in which if one is dedicated and prudent it will eventually yield benefits. One needs to identify the interest, consult the MOFA. (Ministry of Food & Agriculture) look for market, and start operation and they will surely make it.

Ghanaiannews Canada:

With regards to policy and the role of women, what will you in your experience advice government to do to ease the drudgery and suffering of women in agriculture?

Madam Charity Akortia:

Women should have equal and quality agricultural training or education.

There should be training programs on modern trends and technology in agriculture. Government should provide suitable access to resources to women.

Government should connect women in agriculture to women leaders who can mentor, inspire them and also monitor their progress.

Women should be recognized and celebrated just as it was done for me as an inspiration and motivation to other women. Women should have specific measures that are tailored to meet their peculiar needs and finally gender biases and stereotypes that limits women from engaging in agriculture must be eliminated.

Ghanaiannews Canada:

What message do you want to deliver to all stakeholders?

Madam Charity Akortia:

Well stakeholders must be engaged to contribute to the planning of efficient agricultural policies in the country to enhance the implementation of sustainable farming practices. Stakeholders in agriculture must work together to achieve common goals in agriculture by engaging with each other through dialogue, collaboration and education.

Final Comments and Appreciation Madam Charity Akortia:

I will like to use this platform to thank the government and MOFA, i.e. the ministry for recognizing my efforts all these years. I will also like to thank my family for their profound support and hard work throughout these years.

Finally I would also like to thank my able farm workers without them I could not have achieved this remarkable feat.

And all those who wish to go into agriculture especially women, I say with hard work, determination, dedication a lot can be achieved from farming.I entreat all who wish do business with to look for Greenworth farms and contact our sales points, thank you all.


By Russell Quarcoo

Russell Quarcoo, Ghanaiannews Canada

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