For cultivating almost 2,000 acres of both grains, vegetables, tree crops and rearing 32,005 birds and animals, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe today stood tall as the National Best Farmer, 2022.
He took home a brand new tractor, a cheque for GH¢1 million provided by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and an insurance cover.
Additionally, Nana Siriboe, who is also the Akyempenhene of Juaben in the Ashanti Region, is the proud owner of 500 matured mahogany trees, 300 oframo, 12,000 seedlings of oil palm nursery and 3,400 bags of mushroom. He also owns eight fish ponds and 50 boxes of beehives.
A father of four, the 43-year-old farmer from the Juaben District in the Ashanti Region, is the owner of the Siriboe Farms Limited, which currently employs a total of 145 workers, comprising 20 full-time employees, 125 casual employees.
The farm, located at Bomfa, Ejura and Akokoa communities in the Ashanti Region, is highly diversified with crop enterprises covering the broad areas of grains and cereals (maize, rice, soybean, cowpea), vegetables (okro, tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, carrot, sweet pepper), plantation crops (mango, cashew, oil palm, cocoa), timber species (Teak, Mahogany, Lyceria trees, Oframo).
The farm also has avocado pear, sugarcane, Cajanus cajan, pineapple, watermelon, cocoyam and mushroom. The livestock enterprises consist of large ruminants (cattle), small ruminants (sheep and goats), local and exotic birds, pigs, guinea fowls, pigeons, turkeys, ostrich, quails, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, grass cutter, snails, palm weevil larvae (Akokuno), ducks and beehives. In addition, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe has six silky bantam, 156 brahma and eight fish ponds stocked with catfish, tilapia and heriotics.
Regarded as a unique person, and a role model, Nana Siriboe, who is a source of motivation for the youth in the community is a member of the Ejisu Juabeng Pig Farmers Association, Ashanti Regional Fish Farmers Association, Juaben Oil Palm Co-operative Association, Ghana
Chamber of Commerce, Ashanti Regional Poultry Farmers Association, Onuado Maize farmers Association Ejura and Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness.
Excessive rainfall, longer period of drought and bushfires hinder his crop production. He, therefore, uses early maturing plants and drains to moderate the effect of excessive rainfall and practices and supplementary irrigation during the drought periods.
To address the harmful effect of bushfires, he also constructs fire belt and trains hunters to reduce the harmful effects of bushfires.
Additionally, the chief farmer ensures that the relevant safety measures are observed during the use of agrochemicals by providing hand gloves, overalls, wellington boots and nose masks. He also recycles agrochemical containers as a means of disposing off the containers.
Nana Siriboe has good knowledge of crop husbandry practices. He obtains his planting materials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and CSIR and employs both organic and inorganic methods of fertilization as well as practices good sanitation in 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.
The major processing activity of the crop enterprise is processing of maize to feed his poultry. Land preparation, planting, weeding, spraying and harvesting are mechanised.
In terms of animal husbandry practices, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe has good criteria for the selection of breeding stock.
His desire to keep particular species of animal is motivated by the demands of the market, environmental suitability 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 residues of harvested crops such as cassava and maize crop to feed his small ruminants. He keeps to the structured vaccination regime to secure the health of his farm animals.
1st Runner up
For his heavily diversified farm, 56-year-old Adjei Fosu Seth from the Kintampo South District in the Bono East Region was adjudged the 1st runnerup.
With basic school background, he has been farming for the past 39 years, employing a total of 180 workers, comprising 30 full-time employees, 150 casual employees and 10 family members assisting in the day-to-day activities of the farm.
His farms, the Aniantientem farm, are located in several places such as Amoma, Boja and Tanfiano. Mr Seth is married to two wives, with 13 children.
2nd Runner up
For 11 years, 62-year-old Prof. Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw from the Techiman North District in the Bono East Region picked the 2nd runner up position.
His farm, the Asabere Agrobusiness, employs a total of 112 workers, comprising 12 full-time employees, 100 casual employees and three family members assisting in the day-to-day activities of the farm. His farms are located in several places such as Buoyem, Sampanie and
Dooman. Prof. Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw is married to one wife with four children (two biological).
The farm, which is highly diversified, cultivates crops and rears farm animals. Prof Asabere-Ameyaw has won awards in the past as a result of his farming activities, which include 2013 District Best Farmer for small ruminants; 2016 District Best Farmer and 2019 Best Regional Farmer.