Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A new crop of grafting experts emerges in Aceh Timur

As I’ve said many times before here, grafting of any type is an art form.  And cocoa grafting is especially challenging, since the places where cocoa grows best are not necessarily greenhouse-like conditions.  But the women of Simpag Jernih, Pante Kera and Batu Sumbang proved equal to the challenge and during the week-long training grafted hundreds of buds and branches onto both nurser rootstock and mature trees in their fields.

The trainer held the training twice, in two different locations, for the convenience of the farmers, to eliminate additional boat trips between villages.

The trainings covered many aspects of a successful grafting process.  JMD has given this training before, but refreshers are always needed; this is one of the most important, and difficult skills foe a successful cocoa farmer to master.

There was a little classroom presentation, in which Robert assisted:

And a bit of field-based explanation prior to the practicum:

Then the farmers went straight to the nursery to learn the proper way to prepare the shoots for grafting, and the tree or seedling for accepting the graft

Robert also took a short video of the women practicing grafting the rootstock in the nursery, that JMD willl post to its Facebook Page (unfortunately it is too big to load onto this page; we're just learning abou t how to control the file size of videos).  Even if you don’t understand Acehnese or Bahasa you can tell they are having fun; one of the great things about this project is that it takes skills the women already possess (their ability to do very delicate and exacting work with their hands) and transfers it to an economically viable livelihood. 

Each woman has been given grafting tools and tape by the program, and did many top and bud grafts in the nursery, onto which were placed plastic baggies for added protection.

Grafts in the farmers’ plantations required training in side grafting and protection.

This is the first training that our three new farmer beneficiaries, from Batu Subang, were attending.

And it’s also the beginning of a “training of the trainer” for a farmer in Pante Kera, who’s been very successful on her own farm and will act as a peer mentor to her colleagues

Was this a great training or was this a great training? 


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