As Ghana marks Farmers Day on Friday December 7, 2018, Starr News’ Eastern Regional Correspondent Kojo Ansah visited a blind 62-year-old blind man who has defied all odds by venturing into farming in order not to shirk his breadwinner responsibilities to his family.
An indigene of Teacher Mante in the Eastern Region, Richard Ofori Dzoho was a flourishing business man in Accra in the early seventies until he suffered mild visual impairment which later worsened into total blindness at age 24 after he was brutally assaulted by Some Military personnel at Burma Camp during the 1979 coupe masterminded by former President Jerry John Rawlings.
“I was not born with blindness. I was a businessman at Tudu in Accra. In 1979, my brother who was a driver for one of the top military officers—a Major was arrested after his In-law whom he guaranteed to purchase his boss’ car failed to pay the balance of GH¢200 in current currency…..
“So we mobilized to Burma Camp to pay the money to the Major to release our brother but all of a sudden four armed military men brutally assaulted the seven of us. I was kicked several times with the butt of the gun, slapped mercilessly and since then I started losing my sight which got worse until I became totally blind,” recounted Ofori Dzoho somberly.
He contemplated committing suicide, he tells Starr News because he thought the World has come to an end for him but was encouraged by his wife with whom he has two children.
“When I got blind in fact, I thought of committing suicide because people were ill advising my wife to divorce me so I was disturbed,” he said with cracking voice.
Decision to take up farming not an easy one
Ofori Dzoho who’s now enjoying his new craft says the decision to go into farming was not an easy one nonetheless took the risk, starting with subsistence farming and later ventured into commercial farming.
He weeds, cultivates and harvests the farm produce himself with the help of his Wife.
Currently he has a total of 9 acre farms of Maize, Pawpaw, cassava, beans, pepper, okra and orange.
His toil was acknowledged twice in 1998 and 2009 when he was adjudged District Best Disable Farmer when the community was under Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District.
Challenges and Appeal
Ofori Dzoho said his farm produce particularly pawpaw rot in the farm due to poor road network and vehicles to transport it to the market centers.
He added that, he is gradually losing the physical strength to old age to labour in the farm therefore appealed to philanthropists and government to support him with financial assistant, tricycle or a mini truck to help boost his agriculture business which is his source of livelihood.
He also wants philanthropists to support him with a white cane which helps him walk through the bush and detect reptiles on his way.
Currently, he is burdened with the destruction of almost two acre of his maize farm by the fall army worm and the District Agric office seemed helpless in dealing with the invasion.
Meanwhile, the Acting District Director of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Joseph Okai Djan has visited the farm for urgent intervention to help control the pest.