Despite relative isolation, unimproved access roads, floods, drought, renegade monkeys, palm oil bulldozers and thugs threatening to muss them up, the women of Simpang Jernih subdistrict have launched into the new harvest season with a 35% increase in production and a 62% increase in price per beans. How did they do it? Organic fertilizer, good weeding and pruning, dedicated perimeter patrol, and lots of something they never had before: gentle and consistent encouragement from trusted and concerned agriculture extensionists. Additionally, the women are now producing enough quantity simultaneously that (thanks to their recent Marketing training) the buyer with whom they now deal directly has told them he will travel to them and pay the premium price for bulk cocoa every time they have over 30k (or about 80 pounds). At this rate that could be three times each harvest.
Field officer Robert reports that one farmer has now finally made enough money to pay for her daughter’s tuition at university in Kuala Simpang (the closest large city, also where the women are now selling their beans). Isn’t that great??
As JMD Associate Director Junaidi wrote to me:
“More trees, more production and more income = say NO to illegal logging!”
Who says the revolution does not begin at home?