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The 2018 National Best Farmer, Mr. James Obeng Boateng, spent 32 years in the corporate world before venturing into large-scale farming in 2016.

He has worked with multinational companies in West and Central Africa, with the exception of Nigeria.

He worked with the British African Tobacco Company for 19 years and rose through the ranks to become its Group Managing Director.

The 60-year-old newly crowned best farmer also worked with Coca Cola International for three years and moved to the Cadbury Company where he worked in 20 countries across West and Central Africa.

He was also in charge of Mauritania and Gabon.

Speaking to the Mirror on Saturday, December 8, 2018, the day after the 34th National Farmers Day celebration held in Tamale, Mr. Boateng noted that people in the middle class and the corporate world could go into commercial farming as a way of encouraging others, especially the youth, to take up farming.

Mr. Boateng has been farming for the past 18 years and has a workforce of 102, comprising 45 full-time employees and 57 casual workers. He is diversified in agricultural production, covering roots and tubers, cereals, vegetables, plantation crops, legumes and timber species.

He has large ruminants such as cattle, goats and sheep, in addition to poultry.

He also has 40 beehives which have been colonized with bees and two fish ponds stocked with tilapia and catfish.

For his price, Mr. Boateng was given a dummy cheque for GHc480, 000, sponsored by the Agricultural Development Bank.

Motivation

Mr. Boateng said he was motivated to go into farming because he wanted to be a role model to the youth and also help provide jobs for them.

“Because I have done some farming at the peasant level, I know how lucrative farming is if you give it the needed attention and investment,” he noted.

According to him, in 1978, he ventured into peasant farming to enable him to pay his fees at the university because of his parents’ inability to foot the bill.

That initiative, he explained, really paid off.

Education

Mr. Boateng holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Ghana Business School, Legon.

He has also pursued 27 other courses, including Project management, planning, marketing and corporate governance in educational institutions in countries such as Holland, Spain, Germany, Las Palmas, South Africa, Kenya and Cameroon.

Vision

He intimated that his vision was to expand his farming business to help employ more youth, as well as use his latest honour to implore Ghanaians to go into farming to help contribute meaningfully to national development.

Mr. Boateng urged the government to help introduce community youth farming clubs as a way of encouraging the youth to go into farming.

He maintained that many youth had the potential for farming but were not encouraged to do so mainly due to the fact that they did not consider it as a lucrative venture.

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