At the heart of Kwahu Praso in the Kwahu South Municipal of the Eastern Region lies a one and half an acre of land which has been cultivated into a cabbage farm. The land which runs 340.48 feet in length by 355 feet in width is owned and operated by Juana Afia Bobie, the 35-year-old farmer and nurse at Kwahu Praso. Juan, as she is affectionately called by all her closed associates runs the farm solely herself and three labourers who assist her from time to time, mainly on weekends.
I never imagined going into farming myself, though I had since my childhood admired farmers and how farming was made. I am from a rural town, Oweakrom, a village town in the Ashanti Region so farming has been with us since our childhood. I am from a village but the thought of farming was never along with my plans until 2 July 2019, when I faced the worst day of my life.
I had gone into financial hardship and nobody was able to help me. The numerous people I had help could not help me even with food. I laid in my room one evening, very hungry with no food to eat, and no one to cry to. Who will even give me food to eat, I kept asking myself until it's was nightfall.
I woke up from my bed, took a torchlight and started roaming the market square. I came across some spoilt vegetables and some cassava so I brought it home and prepared a vegetable stew from it. Two of the vegetables; cabbage were beyond eating so I threw it at the back of my house and that spoilt cabbage started growing after some time. That is how come I started planting cabbage to survive as a side business, aside from my nursing career, Juan stated.
Juan has since 2019, been cultivating cabbage from a small piece of land until she mastered courage and bought her farmland; one and a half acre land. The land which Juan did acquire early last year, is now the farm she plants her vegetables on. It's never easy to be a farmer and a nurse at the same time. You have to sacrifice a lot including sleep to make it work.
What helps me the most is nursing jobs are hourly jobs; 8 am to 2 pm for the morning shift, 2 pm to 8 pm for the evening shift and 8 pm to 8 am for the night shift, so I get more hours to manage both the farm and my civic duty to the patients.
My worst mistake was not planning at the beginning, and that did eat a lot of my salary. Cabbage takes time and if you are not careful, you will lose them. I have labourers who help me out on weekends so I do a lot of the tedious works on weekends.
My advice to anyone who wants to go into farming is to plan well, or you will regret doing it. When you plan, you know how to counter every trouble including pests and thieves who might come to steal the vegetables. Farming is good but needs a lot of time, Juan said in ending her interview.
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