Pictororial: John Gbelewoe

A Physically Challenged Man Embarks Sustainable Fish and Rice Production Project in Bong County.

By: Randall Nyah | Email: randallnyah24@gmail.com |

In a remarkable display of determination and entrepreneurial spirit, a 50-year-old returnee farmer from Guinea despite facing physical challenges, has embarked on a pioneering venture in the agricultural sector.  John Gbelewoe a resident of Shankpalla Town situated in Zota District, Bong County initiated the rice and fish production project aimed at not only sustaining himself but also contributing to the local economy.

Born with physical disabilities that have posed significant challenges throughout his life, John Gbelewoe a former refugee during the Liberian crisis has refused to let his circumstances define his potential. With a passion for farming and a desire to make a meaningful impact, he set out to establish his agricultural enterprise.

John’s project focuses on integrated farming, combining rice cultivation with fish farming in a symbiotic system known as aquaponics. This innovative approach maximizes resource efficiency and productivity while minimizing environmental impact. By utilizing aquaponics, John aims to produce high-quality rice and fish in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

Despite initial skepticism from some members of the community, John’s determination and vision have garnered widespread support and admiration. With the assistance of local agricultural experts and community volunteers, he has been able to overcome numerous challenges and make significant progress with his project.

I believe that with hard work, dedication, and the right support, anyone can achieve their dreams, regardless of their circumstances,” says John. “I am grateful for the encouragement and assistance I have received from my community, and I am committed to making this project a success.”

According to John, he currently has ten plots of lowland rice well layout with support from his family and other volunteers who are inspired by his work.  He intends to further expand the farm but lacks the resources to make a substantial addition to the existing one.  He wants the government especially the Ministry of Agriculture and NGOs in the agriculture sector to make special provisions for PwD farmers who are striving to maintain household food security through agriculture production.

The physically challenged farmer maintains he went into lowland rice production because of the changing weather pattern due to climate change.  “I can utilize this swamp during the dry season and rain time, which means I can farm throughout the year.  When the rice is harvested, we plant vegetables and other crops that give us income to prepare for the next rice planting season and this works for me well”, John indicates.  

He is not only concerned about family food security but also how he can expand his venture into gainful agriculture practice. John says he wants to engage with farming as a business because farming is increasingly being recognized as a viable business opportunity with significant economic potential.  “I want to make a farm to take care of other family problems like sending my children to school, providing medication, a good home, and saving some money not only for us to get food and eat regularly despite it being the most important reason we farm”

John’s initiative not only holds promise for his success but also offers inspiration to others facing similar challenges. His story serves as a powerful reminder that with perseverance and innovation, individuals can overcome adversity and make meaningful contributions to society.

As John Gbelewoe continues to work towards realizing his vision of a thriving agricultural enterprise, his story stands as a testament to the boundless potential of the human spirit. In the face of adversity, he has chosen not only to survive but to thrive, inspiring others to do the same.

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1 Comment
  1. Great information shared.. really enjoyed reading this post thank you author for sharing this post .. appreciated

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