Fri | Dec 8, 2023

Growth & Jobs | Blind farmer impresses at RADA Farmer Field School

Published:Tuesday | September 19, 2023 | 12:07 AM
Tyrone Traille, a blind farmer from Bensonton, St Ann.
Tyrone Traille, a blind farmer from Bensonton, St Ann.
Banana is among  the crops cultivated by blind farmer Tyrone Traille on his farm in Bensonton, St Ann.
Banana is among the crops cultivated by blind farmer Tyrone Traille on his farm in Bensonton, St Ann.
Forty-five-year-old blind farmer Tyrone Traille shares a moment with Member of Parliament for Southeast St Ann Lisa Hanna during the Rural Agricultural Development Authority Farmer Field School graduation ceremony, held at Moneague College in St Ann on Sep
Forty-five-year-old blind farmer Tyrone Traille shares a moment with Member of Parliament for Southeast St Ann Lisa Hanna during the Rural Agricultural Development Authority Farmer Field School graduation ceremony, held at Moneague College in St Ann on September 7.
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TYRONE TRAILLE, a blind farmer from Bensonton, St Ann, has defied the odds to graduate from a farmer-training programme organised by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

The 45-year-old, who has been farming for more than 30 years despite losing his sight at the tender age of seven, is now a shining example of what sheer willpower and hard work can achieve.

His journey into farming began when he was just a child, helping his mother tend to her small plot of land.

However, life took an unexpected turn when he lost his vision due to a medical condition.

Undeterred by this life-altering setback, Traille refused to let his disability define him. With unwavering determination and a passion for agriculture, he continued to pursue his dream of becoming a successful farmer at the age of 15.

“I couldn’t go into any other thing but farming because I know they wouldn’t want to take me into any other work, so I do farming for myself,” he said at the graduation ceremony held at Moneague College in St Ann on Thursday, September 7.

“I just feel to do farming all the time because I love agriculture. No matter what going on, mi love agriculture,” Traille shared.

Over the years, he honed his farming skills through sheer determination and by enlisting the help of family and friends.

“I get help from my brother, my sister, my mother, and from many other people,” he said.

Traille specialises in producing cash crops such as yam, banana, carrot, and pepper. He also rears cows and goats, diversifying his income sources.

One of the most inspiring aspects of Traille’s story is his daily routine to care for his farm. Despite his visual impairment, he walks two miles to his farm each day.

Guided by a strong sense of touch and an intimate knowledge of his land, he meticulously tends to his crops and livestock. His dedication has not only enabled him to provide for himself, but has also earned him the respect of the entire Bensonton community, whose residents purchase his produce as often as they can.

Despite being a victim of praedial larceny and suffering minor injuries on his farm, Traille remains undaunted.

“A lot of the times I go to farm and other men use their animals to feed at my grung (farm). Sometimes I am weeding my farm and the cutlass (machete) cut off my finger top, but I continue because I love farming; and as long as I can do farming, I will continue,” he declared.

Traille’s commitment to farming came to the attention of RADA, which recognised his potential and invited him to join the entity’s Farmer Field School programme.

The programme, designed to enhance the skills of local farmers, offered Traille the opportunity to learn new techniques and modern farming practices that could further improve his yield.

He said that he has benefited tremendously from the training and intends to use the knowledge gained to boost production.

“The training was good. They (instructors) come to me and said, ‘Young man, your eyes [are] not good but you always encourage us,’ because I always reach [the training centre] before them a morning time. The training was nice, and I would start it back tomorrow morning if they are ready again,” he laughed.

“They teach us about how to use the chemical; you must not light bush fire, as you can burn down people’s place; and you must know how to sow the seeds…” he related.

Throughout the training programme, Traille exhibited an exceptional aptitude for agriculture and quickly adapted to the new techniques he learnt.

His remarkable story served as an inspiration to his fellow trainees and the instructors.

RADA’s assistant extension officer for the Claremont area, Jerome Riley, said that despite Traille’s visual impairment, he excelled in various aspects of the programme.

He noted that during his assessment, which was done orally, Traille exceeded expectations.

“He performed exceedingly well, even above expectations, because like I said early on, he is one of those who is very focused. He didn’t come because he wanted to be certified, he came with the intention to learn, and because of that drive he turned out to do more than what anyone would expect,” Riley said.

He hailed the farmer for his level of determination, expressing confidence that he will use his new-found skills to supply local vendors in his community with high-quality produce.

“Mr Tyrone Traille has done very well. Don’t look at what you see here, because he has a heart for agriculture. He has an aim, he has the drive, and he is very determined. And despite the many obstacles, he doesn’t allow anything to distract him from the path he is on, which I have to commend him on,” Riley noted.

Riley gave the assurance that RADA will continue to offer the necessary support to Traille through its extension services.

JIS