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Farmer Stories

“Greener Pastures do not grow overnight”: Kwaku Nsoah’s story

November 27, 2022

Too many farmers accept that they are disempowered and have no voice, but Kwaku Nsoah’s passion for farming has made him an advocate who speaks and pursues the truth about issues concerning farmers. 

NSOAH THE 7TH BORN 

Kwaku Nsoah was born into a large family, as the seventh born, he was named Nsoah meaning 7th born. He was born in 1959 in Techiman-Misedan in the Bono East Region. His parents were farmers who were struggling to make ends meet, and with a large family, they couldn’t afford to pay his fees when he completed Middle form school in 1975. 

At just 16 years old Kwaku struggled with what to do with his life and finally joined his parents in the farm business, dissatisfied with farming, he travelled to Nigeria to seek greener pastures. But the pastures were not so green after all, and so he returned to Ghana in 1983. 

“ When I moved to Ghana, I returned to farming on my family’s farm, where I grew cassava and maize. Adventist Relief Agencies (ADRA), in partnership with USAID, came to my town in 1993 and taught us how to grow cashews and mangoes. I therefore chose to shift my focus to raising these two crops. They were quite helpful. They assisted us in securing a one-acre farm in the first year, as well as providing seedlings and even food items for ourselves and families until our crops developed and we could provide for our family with the money from our farms.” 

A DAY IN HIS LIFE

Farmers battle weather conditions, working weekends and never having enough time for themselves, but Kwaku Nsoah has found a way to combine full-time farming with running a small shop.  His daily activities may seem monotonous but must be done regardless. They must also be done consistently to help increase productivity. 

“I am normally up by 5 am and open my shop at around 6 am. I mostly keep my shop till 9 am and then go to my farm. Every season has its activity on my farm, but I usually weed, apply chemicals or prune the trees. I return home around 4 pm and go back to my shop till evening.”

FARMING PAYS

Working in farming comes with diverse opportunities to make money. Agriculture accounts for 65% of employment and 35% of gross domestic product (GDP), but poverty remains high in rural farm areas where farming is the number one source of income. But this is not the story for Kwaku Nsoah who has found ways to make farming profitable and valuable. 

“I must say that farming means a lot to me. I would not call myself wealthy, but my farming business allows me to live comfortably. I currently own a 2- acre Cocoa farm, a 4-acre Cashew farm, and a 6-acre cashew farm. This business has enabled me to build a house, own a shop, and send my two children to school. One is currently attending a teacher training college, and the other owns his own provision shop. I’m also financing my nephew at the Nursing Training College. I can confidently state that if you want to make it in life, farming is one of the jobs you can pursue.”

LIFE BEYOND FARMING / FAR MORE THAN FOOD 

Farmers contribute immensely to their communities and play a civic role. These contributions go beyond food. Farmers’ contributions range from building churches, schools, and community centers, to providing jobs, supporting their local youth activities, and more. 

 Kwaku Nsoah has and continues to make a difference in his community.

“I was the secretary for the group of farmers ADRA funded at the time, and we did a lot of things as a group to help our community. We contributed to the construction of a community clinic. At the time, we also provided toilet facilities to 40 households. During those days, we planted a lot of tree seedlings across the town, and as a result of this initiative, Misedan is today a very cool community with a lot of trees.’

FARMING STIMULATES THE LOCAL ECONOMY

Farmers provide food and fuel to the marketplace, they also provide jobs to workers who spend their money stimulating the economy.  Kwaku Nsoah believes that farming is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy. 

“Agriculture has traditionally been the foundation of the Ghanaian economy. Our farm produce is exported to other countries, which generates revenue for the country. Aside from that, agriculture employs a large number of people. I began farming after finishing high school when my parents were unable to continue my schooling.

Food is one of the first things that comes to mind when everyone wakes up each day, and all of this food comes from the farmer.

I also understand that the trees we plant are critical to preventing environmental degradation. As a result, as farmers, we make significant contributions to the nation’s development.”

CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE 

Too many farmers accept that they are disempowered and have no voice, but Kwaku Nsoah’s passion for farming has made him an advocate who speaks and pursues the truth about issues concerning farmers. 

“I don’t think farmers in Ghana are well appreciated. There is a notion that all farmers are poor so the youth do not want to venture into farming. 

We have very fertile lands to the extent that one can even plant in his or her room and it will still grow, yet we import certain food crops that can be grown here into the country. This is because we do not get a lot of support, especially from the government. 

No bank wants to loan farmers money to expand their businesses. We are grateful for the  support we get from NGOs and private companies like Farmerline, but I think farming can be made a lot more attractive if the government invests a lot into it.”

THE FUTURE OF FARMING 

Agriculture is key to addressing youth employment challenges in Africa and so the youth must be encouraged to go into farming, Kwaku Nsoah believes that farming is as important as any other job. 

‘Every job is equally important. Some of our future generations can be doctors, lawyers, nurses, and all other professions but farming is equally important.  Even if you are not well educated, farming is a business you can venture into and you will be equally successful.

The challenge in starting a farming business is the capital for most of our youth, but the advice I can give is that they can start small with the little money they have and God will increase them.”  

NKYINI NKANFO NI HO 

Kwaku Nsoah has contributed immensely to his community and the country as a whole, he has impacted lives and his contributions will always speak for him. 

“There is an Akan adage that says, “Nkyini nkanfo ni ho”, which simply means you don’t need to blow your own trumpet, but I have contributed a lot to my community which is the legacy I will leave behind. Almost everybody in my community knows me. I have encouraged a lot of people with my story to go into farming. I have also set good examples for others to follow and my life teaches a lot of people that you can still make it in life if certain circumstances prevent you from going to school.”

Farmers like Kwaku Nsoah must be celebrated, their stories told and the impact they have had shared with the world. 

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