Business Ventures of Former Pineapple Crew Show Progress
September 26, 2016
When we wrapped up the Just Hope pineapple farm project in 2015, we knew that the end of our farm was also the beginning of new ventures for many of our crew. Their experiences with Just Hope provided inspiration, excitement and hope regarding their own capabilities for increasing their household income using agriculture. On our recent leadership visit, we visited the farms of many of our former employees.
We visited two goat farms – adjacent farms that belong to Fatoma N’denema and Borbor Pessima. The goat disease that swept through the area several months ago spared both of these herds, and each of their sets of four goats are healthy. Credit is certainly due to these farmers in the ways they are keeping their pens and goathouses clean, with sturdy fences that keep the goats in and predators out. We suggested they add Moringa leaves to the goats’ fodder for nutritional value, and also that they invest in vaccinating their goats, when time and money allow.
Abu Momodu’s cocoa plantation shows small trees that are small but strong. With cocoa trees, land clearing is not especially necessary as it is with plants like corn and beans. The seedlings actually prefer to grow in the shadows of larger trees and plants, which makes the planting process not as arduous. However, the farmers have to make sure the trees are not eclipsed by faster growing neighbors and that they are regularly inspected for disease and pest infestation. Abu was a joy to visit with, and very proud of his cocoa farm.
We stopped by Musa Macauley’s and Dauda Koroma’s three-acre palm farms, which showed saplings that are young but growing quickly. Palm trees and cocoa trees have a long cycle to maturity – about five years – so we applaud these men for their patience and foresight. Once mature, palm trees can live and produce fruit for another 13 to 25 years, so tree farmers know that a long-term investment can yield a long-term reward.
We also visited the pineapple farm of Ibrahim Siaka, one of the more enterprising businessmen we work with. As a Just Hope pineapple farmer several years ago, Ibrahim was already leveraging his income in the purchase of a generator, which he was using to start a cell phone charging and movie showing business. He continued this ethic with his pineapple farm, using the discarded fruit crowns to start a farm long before the suckers would be available. Those crowns have grown into healthy pineapple plants, which will be ready for harvest sometime in early 2018.
Kudos to these men and several others who have started new ventures powered by their own energy, drive and passion!