Pineapples Changing a Nation Economically, Spiritually

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How do you help a West African Nation heal from its past wounds and move forward in economic and spiritual prosperity?

Christian group, World Hope International, is doing this with pineapples.

Sierra Leon is struggling to overcome a dark past.

Its 11 year civil war claimed 50,000 lives. Thousands of children were forced to become soldiers and many were maimed and suffered amputations.

Peace came in 2001, but 12 years later, 76% of the people still live on less than $2 per day. Hunger is rampant and many young people are illiterate.

So, how do you help the nation prosper?

World Hope International is doing it by teaching Sierra Leoneans how to grow and harvest pineapples on a 100 acre farm.

Robert Kagbo is World Hope Director of Agriculture.

"The farmers are brought there to teach them about the modern technologies on how to grow the pineapple on a commercial scale," Kagbo told CBN News.

"And some of the training will include business management so when some of the farmers begin producing pineapples on a commercial scale, they will be able to reinvest some of the profits into the business and also use some of it for paying school fees for their children," he continued.

World Hope has helped establish TEN, 10 acre farming cooperatives. Once harvested, the pineapples are sold and some are processed into juice at factories like Africa Felix Juice.

Pineapples are harvested and grown year round, so the steady revenue also helps alleviate malnutrition during Sierra Leone's "hunger months," May - Oct, when most people survive on only one meal per day.

And because World Hope is a Christian ministry, it's goal is to meet more than just material needs.

"We say in Africa an empty bag cannot stand. Also, a hungry man is an angry man. If you are able to feed somebody when they are hungry, then it will be easier to start talking to them about spiritual needs that they do not see," Kagbo said.

So, pineapples are providing spiritual relief, but also freedom from hunger, illiteracy and joblessness, and long-term development that is bringing hope and prosperity in West Africa.

"It's going to change Sierra Leon for the better," Kagbo said. 

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Gary Lane

Gary Lane

Senior International Correspondent

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