A 49-year-old visually impaired person in Goka, a farming community in the Jaman North District of the Bono Region, Anaaba Agbango, is among some of the few persons living with a disability to venture into a productive venture.
Anaaba Agbango, a native of the Upper East Region who has been visually impaired since infancy has against all odds been farming for over twenty years to make ends meet.
Anaaba boasts of a 14-acre cashew farm and joins a few persons with disability who have ventured into farming and other related agricultural activities in the Bono Region.
With the support of his hardworking wife, the pair have worked together and have been able to maintain the cashew farm which serves as their source of livelihood.
When this reporter visited him at his cottage situated in the middle of his farm, Anaaba Agbango, provided an insight into his life as a visually impaired person who has ventured into farming.
With no help, he entered the shed he shares with his livestock as his sleeping place to put on his farm attire and wellington boots effortlessly before being led to a portion of the 14-acre cashew by his grandson, Kofi Akalo, to begin the day’s farm work, a routine he has been doing for over two decades.
Farming and visual impairment
With his sharpened cutlass in hand, he moved his hands through the bushes gradually and began weeding.
He indicated that he planted cashew on the entire 14 acres stretch himself by putting the cashew seeds in his pockets and planting them as he raised the mounds.
“I raised the mounds myself and with the planting of the cashew, I had the cashew seeds in my pocket and planted them as I made the mounds. I did that gradually until I finished planting on the entire 14-acre land and when it comes to weeding, I move my hands through the bushes whilst weeding”.
Curiously, he intermittently plucked leaves to smell as he tries to differentiate between cashew plants, weeds and other plants.
“One thing I do whilst weeding in the farm in order not to destroy the cashew plants is to pluck the leaves and smell them. That is how I can determine whether to cut them down or not”.
Anaaba Agbango became visually impaired after he fell and sustained an injury to the eyes when he was about three years old.
According to him, following the death of his father who was the breadwinner of the family, his mother was unable to pay his medical bills so with time his condition worsened and he could not see.
“I became visually impaired at an early age after I fell and got injured. I could not get the needed medical help because of financial problems and with the death of my father the situation worsened”.
He added that despite the step back, he was still motivated to make it in life because he was convinced that disability does not mean inability or an avenue to be begging on the streets so when a friend convinced him to accompany him to come to Goka to seek land for sharecropping, he willingly obliged.
“I always wanted to succeed in life so even though the visual impairment became a hindrance, I did not want to give up as I was still bent on doing something for myself so when a friend convinced me to accompany him to Goka where land was available, I did not hesitate”.
As a farmer, he revealed that some of the problems confronting him are; his inability to effectively manage the farm due to its size, bushfires, low price of cashew, high cost of farm inputs and no befitting place to stay.
Appeal for support
Sharing a place with livestock is the low side of Anaaba Abgbango’s life and he wants the government and other benevolent organisations to help him put up a befitting place to live.
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