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Said Juma

If Said wasn’t a farmer he would be a soccer referee, a construction worker or a taxi driver. For years he wore all these hats. But after his father passed away and left his farm, his path became clearer: he would become a farmer.

On his farm in Kwale on the Kenyan coast, he grows mangoes, oranges and coconuts. Lately, his farm has not been as productive as it used to be. “Back in the day, it used to rain almost every day. Now, not so much,” he says. “We stopped taking care of the environment; cutting trees to build homes and farms and that’s when the rain became less frequent.”

While overall productivity has dropped, coconuts have remained the most reliable crop he grows. Not only do coconuts require less water than other crops, but he also has a customer willing to buy consistently and at a good price, Kenya-based social enterprise Kentaste. Kentaste produces prime products from coconuts sourced from smallholder farmers like Said.

Because of his work on the farm, Said has been able to support his siblings financially, and take his kids through school. He’s also a local community leader who is proud that he chose to be a farmer.