Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August in Simpang Jernih: the harvest season begins with great training and healthy trees

Robert’s been helping some of the farmers with some early harvests these past weeks—Aceh Timur has begun the season, which is a long one due to the variation in elevation and temperature on the farms, even though they’re quite close together.   

The rainforest has its own micro-climate and really affects when and how the cocoa ripens.  Speaking of the forest, the monkeys are really at it this year, due in part to the drought that has pushed them out of the forest to look for other food, and finding their absolute favorite (cocoa), the farmers and their families have been run ragged trying to keep them away from the trees.  But look at these babies!  This is what organic fertilization and pesticide can do to a tree’s production in just one year!

Both Pante Kera and Simpang Jernih farmers received their 6th training in August, under the Local Community Grant from the Embassy of Finland.  (Yay, Finland!)

This time, three trainers were on hand to discuss proper seedling planting, paying special attention to tree placement in relation to shade trees, and how to measure correct distances from shade trees to allow for the cocoa tree’s growth. 

 Farmers still have about 500 trees that were grown in the nursery early this year, and in the coming weeks, in addition to the harvest, they’ll be planting these new trees in the perfect spots for them to be as productive as possible.   

Add to that their grafted branches from superior varieties, and cocoa production should really soar.   

 Robert and the farmers have a harvest chart that tracks production so at the end of this harvest we’ll be able to see what percent increase they realized.  

 I think everyone’s going to be happy!

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