A 68-year old teacher, Francis Asiedu Boafo, a visually impaired, has defied all odds to make a living out of farming.
He had a perfect vision for the first 27 years of his life but suffered glaucoma at age 28 and lost his sight completely.
Before losing his sight, he taught at the basic level as a trained teacher but was transferred to the Akropong School for the Blind to continue teaching after he went blind
At Akropong, he developed interest in farming. And in 2002, he started commercial farming at Kokodei whilst working at the Bosomtwe District Education Directorate.
Upon retirement in 2010, Francis turned to full-time farming.
Francis has been farming for 31 years now.
The avid farmer took solace in the farming business when he went blind at the age of 28.
“I’m a child of farmers and I know what people have gained from farming economically and socially. There is a lot of money in it and a lot of food for you to eat. I made my mind to go into farming knowing that I will have someone to manage my farm for me even when I get old” he told TV3.
For the past 8 years, the blind farmer walks 30 minutes six days a week to his 5-acre cocoa, plantain, and cassava farm.
With his walking stick as guide, he is able to navigate his way to his farm with ease.
On the farm, Francis is able to do almost everything on his own.
He clear weeds around the cocoa trees using his sense of touch to differentiate between weeds and crops.
The avid farmer says his interest in farming continues to soar due to its profitability and comfort.
Even when his farm was set ablaze by some unknown persons five years ago, he was still not discouraged.
“Somebody set my farm ablaze in 2013 but I told myself that I will not be scared by what has happened, so I started to rehabilitate it. I was not perturbed at all. I was just determined to replant and now the farm is back to how it used to be.
“So long as I live, I will dedicate my life to farming until such a time that I cannot farm again” he added.
Francis’ spouse, Narissah Nkansah Boateng, has been supportive over the years.
She helps her husband with the farming activities to earn a good living.
Narissah described her husband a determined man who goes against all odds to get results.
“Francis is result-oriented. He is always determined to achieve the target he has set for himself no matter the obstacle. What even amazes me is that, he is able to differentiate between weeds and crops when clearing the farm”
Mr Boafo is a father of six with his last born being a graduate of the Cape Coast Technical University.
His adopted son, Nana Akwasi Atobrah also helps on the farm. He assists with spraying of the cocoa.
Atobrah takes inspiration from the hardworking blind farmer.
“I sometimes wonder whether he is blind or not because he is able to do things perfectly. He is an inspiration to me. When I see him working tirelessly on his farm, it motivates me to also work hard to survive in life”.
Francis says proceeds from his farming venture enabled him construct his 5-bedroom house at Kokodei.“It is through farming that helped me build my house. Also, it is through the same farming that has also given me money to take care of my children up to the tertiary level. Even now that I’m on pension and I don’t have much, the farming is giving me a lot to eat”.
He entreats the youth not to place themselves under unemployed but to venture into farming.
“It’s rather unfortunate that the youth of the day always want to sit in the offices under air-conditioned and get paid at the end of the month. I will rather ask the youth especially the unemployed to go into farming because there are so many opportunities in the venture where they can earn a good income”.
Francis wants to be supported with farm inputs such as spraying machines, insecticides, and fertilizers to enable him expand his business and increase yields.
He advised physically challenged persons not to allow their condition to be an obstacle to their success but rather use their God-given talent to earn a decent living.
This blind farmer epitomizes the saying that ‘disability is not inability’.
By Abubakar Ibrahim|TV3|3news.com|Ghana