By: Isaac Amoah/tntnewspapergh.com
There was jubilation amid drumming and dancing by tutors and students of Adoe D/A JHS at Gomoa in the Central Region and Ghana Senior High School (GHANASCO),Tamale, in the Northern Region when the two schools were officially declared winners of the junior high school (JHS) category and the senior high school (SHS) category of the 2023 School Farm competition under the auspices of Blue Skies Foundation and Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC).
Ghanasco and Odoe D/A JHS displaying their awards
Both tutors and students of the two schools couldn’t hide their joy as they displayed their dancing skills to the admiration of hundreds of participants at the CCB auditorium of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi on Friday, 24th November 2023.
Ghanasco representatives receiving their prize
Odoe D/A JHS, which maintained its 2022 position as the overall best School Farm of the year for the JHS category, took home four desktop computers, a certificate, a plaque and other farm inputs from the sponsors of the competition.
GHANASCO, which emerged as the overall winner of the 2023 School Farm competition, also went home with five desktop computers, a certificate, a plaque and farm inputs from the sponsors.
Mr.Benjamin Gyan-Kesse,the Executive Director of KIC presenting the prize to Odoe D/A JHS
The overall winners were selected from 200 participating schools from 11 regions out of the 16 regions in Ghana for a period of seven to eight months with intensive activities.
The School Farm competition, which is an initiative of Blue Skies Foundation powered by Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) and other partners, is an agricultural school challenge project that aims to increase the desire of young people through learning experiences, by providing the schools with inputs (seed and basic farm tools) to cultivate their crops on designated school farms.
In an interview with the Executive Director of KIC, Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, he stated that the initiative would encourage students across the country to consider agriculture as an income-generating venture in their life journey, thereby improving Ghana’s food security.
According to him, the programme aligns with KIC’s mission of driving innovation to create and apply commercial solutions to Ghana’s key development challenges, starting with agriculture.
“Through the support programmes organised by KIC, we’re able to spot and invest in young ‘agripreneurs’ with remarkable innovations,” he said.
“KIC also provides support through tailored coaching, skills building, expert mentorship, seed funding, and facilitating connections within and across industries,” he added.
The Executive Director of KIC said the School Farm competition exposes young people to the opportunities available within the agriculture value chain.
According to him, even though agriculture plays a key role as regards the growth of the Ghanaian economy, majority of the young people are not very interested in agriculture despite the good opportunities it provides.
He said at KIC, they believe in drawing the interest of young people towards agriculture using innovation. KIC Ghana, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, came on board to leverage and help scale up this laudable initiative to reach out to more schools, stressing that school farm competitions provide perfect grounds for their target.
The Chairperson for the event, Nana Yaw Sarpong Siriboe, the 2022 National Best Farmer, who doubles as the Akyempemhene of the Juaben Traditional Area, heaped praises on Blue Skies Foundation and Kosmos Innovation Centre and their partners for the initiative.
He, therefore, encouraged all Ghanaians, especially the young ones, to go into farming since it is agro-business contrary to tagging it as punishment.
“l can tell you that farming is very lucrative and sexy. Let’s all disabuse our minds and encourage our children to go into farming,” he stressed.
Other speakers including the Ashanti Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Rev. John Manu, representatives of the Ghana Education Service (GES), among others, lauded the School Farm competition and pledged their support to the organisers.
They advised the students to put what they learn from the programme into good and practical use to engender positive changes in their various communities.
The various speakers described the initiative as a big game-changer to the nation’s agricultural sector and, therefore, urged all stakeholders to support it.
The best school farm of the year 2023 award – Junior High School (JHS) category:
Poponga Fantem D/A Basic School – 2nd runner-up
-Wenchi SDV JHS 1st runner-up
Overall best school farm of the year award – Odoe D/A JHS.
Best school farm of the year award Senior High School (SHS) category:
Overall winner – Ghana Senior High School (GHANASCO),Tamale
1st runner-up – Bepong SHS
2nd runner-up – Mankessim Senor High Technical School (SHTS).
The winners of other awards were: Most entrepreneurial school award (Adoe D/A JHS).
Most committed school 2023 award (Peki SHTS)
The most innovative school farm of the year award – Ecole Ransard School.
Discovery of the year award 2023 – SDA SHS – Gomoa.
Most sustainable school farm of the year award – Ghana Senior High School,Tamale
Other awards are:
Best male school farm of the year award JHS category (Abdul Latif) received a tablet, a plaque and a certificate.
Best Female student JHS category award (Ofeibes Annan of Adoe JHS) also received a tablet, a plaque and a certificate.
For the best male student award SHS category – Bright Anibroka of Bepong SHS received the award with a laptop, a certificate and a plaque, while Effah Yvonne of Peki SHS also was adjudged the best female student for the SHS category with a similar package.
There were several other awards given to deserving persons. They included Ruth Smith Agyei’s special recognition award, the best teacher for both JHS and SHS; judges discretion awards, Anthony Pile special recognition award, Cecil Boamag-Lanptey, among other awards.
Some scenes from the awards ceremony: