Growing Dreams: Hassan Kombo

By Rebecca Jacobs, Posted on July 15, 2023

In the heart of Pemba Island, Zanzibar, Hassan Kombo, a seasoned farmer with two decades of experience, has not only cultivated the land but also sown the seeds of a transformative journey. In 2022, Hassan embraced a new chapter by joining Community Forests Pemba in hopes of elevating his agricultural practices.

While Hassan possessed substantial knowledge of seed planting techniques, his farm experienced a game-changing evolution when he gained access to a reliable drip irrigation system, support provided by Community Forest Pemba’s VIUNGO project. With a consistent water supply, Hassan is able to better weather the often inconsistent rainfall that the region experiences.

Hassan Kombo, Junguni, Pemba Island

The impact is evident in his yields. Previously, one acre yielded 200 baskets, each weighing 45 kg. Today, thanks to the infusion of modern techniques, that number has increased to an impressive 300 baskets per acre. This increase not only signifies a boost in production but also underscores the potential for sustainable farming practices.

Bolstered by the additional income, Hassan is reinvesting in his farm, particularly in advanced water technologies. His aspirations stretch beyond the boundaries of agriculture — he envisions opening an agro-supply store, offering tools and resources for fellow farmers. Furthermore, he dreams of expanding into poultry and livestock, a strategic move that not only aids in producing organic manure for his farm but also creates a market for other local farmers.

Hassan deals with both heavy rainfall that risks flooding his fields, pictured here, and periods of long draught with no rainfall at all.

Currently, Hassan tends to a 6-acre plot, utilizing 3 acres for active cultivation. His commitment to agriculture is a family affair, with seven members, including his children, contributing to the farm’s success.

Hassan has become a teacher himself, and shares advice to aspiring farmers: “Agriculture is a good thing, but you need two essential elements — knowledge and capital. Beautiful farms don’t just happen; they’re a result of hard work and dedication.”

Beyond the fields, Hassan’s farm itself has become a source of education, supporting his children’s schooling and contributing to the construction of a family home. His vision stretches across both Pemba and Unguja, embodying a commitment to the broader community. His journey illuminates the potential of agriculture, not just as a means of sustenance but as a catalyst for dreams, growth, and a flourishing community.