Ibrahim Siaka was one of Just Hope’s first employees in 2012, when we first started working on a pineapple farm in Bauya. Sullay Turay, Liaison, calls him an “honest, hard worker and a fast learner,” and to that we would add a husband and father with a powerful desire to improve his family’s quality of life.
Working for Just Hope and earning a steady income was a new experience for Ibrahim, whose previous income was spotty and inconsistent as a mason for hire. An entrepreneur at heart, Ibrahim took some of his Just Hope income to buy a generator and a television, which he turned into a cottage business of phone charging and movie watching.
With the pineapple venture concluded, Ibrahim has been inspired to put his new knowledge to work for him, and has planted his own pineapple farm of 1,445 plants using techniques he learned from his employment with Just Hope. What’s remarkable about his farm, and speaks to Ibrahim’s strong entrepreneurial drive, is that he didn’t want to wait for the suckers from the Just Hope farm to mature to the point of replanting. So eager to begin his farm and get to work, he asked for the pineapple crowns from the spoiled fruit in the field that would have been allowed to rot otherwise. Knowing that the crowns take longer to mature into plants than suckers, he figured out that by the time the suckers matured, that the crowns would have just about caught up with them, and he would have that many more plants on their way to maturity.
In addition to the crowns already rooting in the ground, he is preparing land to receive suckers, when those are ready for replanting.
“My plan for my pineapple plantation is to be a major pineapple producer by planting more acres and to be able to meet the demands of the market,” said Ibrahim, whose wife, five children and extended family help him with his growing farm.