One on One with Rev. Lemuel Quarshie Martey, 2012 National Best Farmer

2012 best Farmer & spouse.

By Rachel Kakraba.

The desire of many to live in bigger cities, especially the capital Accra, has seen arable lands in the Region give way to concrete structures. Although it is not the food basket of the country, it is equally making strides with its Agriculture, producing some national best farmers.

One of them is Rev. Lemuel Quarshie Martey, who won the prestigious National Best Farmer Award in 2012. On the occasion of National Farmer’s Day, GBC ONLINE engaged him.

His farm, Manna Ghana Limited located along the Akosombo Road, between Afienya and Mataheko, produces vegetables, livestock, rice among others which is supplied to schools and the consuming public. Rev. Lemuel Martey, said he conceived the idea to go into farming at a relatively young age while working on the farm with his mother.

During the peak of his career, he resigned from a lucrative job as a mechanical engineer to go into full time farming. This decision he said raised some eyebrows but in the long run it paid off.

For his exploits in the agricultural industry, Rev. Martey was in 2012 named national best farmer. For him, it was so gratifying as his sacrifices and hard work had brought him to the limelight.

“It was just awesome because as a young man I left Nestle Ghana and people thought I was going to fail. Hard Work pays and really God has crowned my efforts.”

Asked about how easy or difficult it is to go into farming in the national capital, Accra, Rev. Martey, indicated there are fairly good roads to transport produce as well as ready markets in the region. However, it equally has some challenges especially with activities of land guards which is a major threat.

“Coming to Greater Accra that land has become so scarce like cocaine, the guards are there, the chiefs are interested and on the same land you have to farm. So a time will come in Greater Accra we cannot even discover a half acre farm, because everything is going in estate.”

Rev. Martey expressed concern over the lack of storage systems that can prevent post harvest losses usually experienced by farmers. He appealed to the government to introduce the buffer stock system, which can cater for produce during bumper harvest to prevent wastage.

From a humble beginning of the award scheme where the best national farmer received two machetes, a pair of Wellington boots and a preset radio as the reward, today the award winners receive cash, house and other farm implements. For Rev. Martey current prizes presented to award winners is not out of place but that should not be the end of the story.

“Giving the farmer a house, and some with motor bikes, it’s a way of showing gratification saying, you we appreciate your efforts it’s in line but it should not end there.”

He asked the government to make recognition of the national best farmer more meaningful to farmers by giving them some specialized duties. To him all national best farmers come to the table with different experiences which must be tapped into to make Ghana’s Agriculture sector more viable.

“After the person becomes the best farmer and you give him a tractor or a car, or a house, what next? Is it a house to vacate the farm and sleep? I am looking at when they are going to identify all those people, so they can assign them special duties or functions to support agriculture in Ghana.”

Nine years after he received the award Rev. Martey who also doubles as the National Secretary, Ghana National Association of Farmers and fishermen said although he is vibrantly on the field, “after feeding the body physically it is now time to feed the body spiritually” as he is also doing God’s work.

For him, there is no better celebration on a National Farmer’s Day than the government making the Agriculture Sector a priority.

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