From taxi driver to National Best Farmer; Story of 55-year-old Solomon Kusi
After failed attempts to go abroad in search of greener pastures, 55-year-old Mr Solomon Kusi first turned to a border taxi driver.
As a result of the honesty and sincerity with which he worked, he broke the long-existing myth and mistrust between the Ivorian business community and their Ghanaian counterparts, especially at the Elubo Border.
His character endeared him to the hearts of all who crossed his path, and through that, he made money, having operated as the Coordinator of the Head Load Secretariat, which is a body in charge of all the rice imported into the country through the western corridors of the Elubo, Sampa and Nkrankwanta borders.
Mr Kusi is on record to have helped in increasing the revenue collection through his efforts at getting tax evaders at the Elubo Border to pay duty on their goods. For that, he was given a Certificate of Mention by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
He single-handedly fought against the directive in 2013 that no imports should pass through the land borders, except through the Tema and Takoradi Ports, to check the uncontrolled flow of rice across the borders, in order to ensure quality standards and curb unfair trade practices.
His fight produced results, when on August 1, 2016, the then government lifted the ban on rice imports through the land borders of Elubo, Sampa and Nkrankwanta.
A successful businessman and a secondary school leaver, he is today the National Best Farmer with large tracts of commercial farms in the Jomoro District in the Western Region.
He left his lucrative rice import business, sold all his trucks and invested in farming, with the belief that that would pay better.
His colleagues teased him at the time for abandoning the business and moving into farming and even spread the wrong impression that he might be owing people for which reason he had sold off his vehicles to clear his debt. They presumed that he had gone broke and that was why he decided to go into farming.
The posture of his colleagues spurred him on to do even more. He promised himself that he would one day win an award and be acknowledged on a national television.
True to that wish, on Friday, November 6, 2020, at the 36th edition of the National Farmers’ Day celebration, Mr Kusi realised his long-cherished dream of receiving an award, when he stepped up the dais to receive the National Best Farmer Award at Techiman in the Bono East Region; and it was all aired on national television.
For his effort in farming, Mr Kusi was recognised as the Overall Best Farmer and for his prize, he took away the equivalent of $100,000, which he said he would invest in his farmhouse to improve his business.
He supported the current award scheme that are cash awards to help the winning farmers widen their operations and employ many more youth.
Mr Kusi completed his first storey-building in the year 2000 and commended the organising committee for accepting to convert the two or three-bedroom house in a city to cash, “because for me, I love the bush and will forever love to stay on my farm.”
He is a multi-millionaire farmer, a school proprietor and a philanthropist, with 720 acres of rubber plantation, 380 acres of cocoa farm, a 250-acre plantation of coconut, 180 acres of oil palm plantation, 10 acres of cassava farm, 75 acres of plantain farm, 35 acres of maize, five acres of garden eggs, five acres of okra and 10 acres of pepper farm.
He also has 11,000 poultry birds, 50 turtles, 80 sheep, 40 goats, 350 local fowls, 10 fish ponds, 56 grasscutters, 1,000 snails, 10 acres of ginger, two acres of tomatoes and a plantation of 200 Odum trees, 800 Emire trees, 300 Dawoma trees, 3,000 Mahogany trees and 300 Framo trees.
Apart from farming, the 2020 National Best Farmer is also the founder and proprietor of Jesus Never Fails International School, one of the best private basic schools in the Jomoro District with about 600 pupils.
For the love of farming, Mr Kusi is offering free accommodation and a meal each day for farmers’ children in the school, as his contribution to helping farmers to raise literate population.
The 2020 National Best Farmer has undertaken a number of community support activities and has also employed 225 workers, with 105 full-time and 120 casuals.
Mr Kusi advised the youth to venture into farming because there is money in it. He urged them to discard the perception that farming was for illiterates or the aged and blamed that perception on the use of weeding or farming as a mode of punishment in schools, “and so, when the student graduates, he sees farming as punishment”.
He was grateful to the government, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the organising committee for selecting him as well as the headline sponsor, the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) for sponsoring his award.