Is it a plantain-tree, a shady tree or a chance-tree?
Maybe you can still remember what we promised already in the very beginning during our kickstarting campaign: We wanted to plant more trees on the cocoa plantations. In the past the Yayra Glover-cooperative mainly concentrated on efficiency and yield results and therefore planted shady- and plantain-trees. But those plantain-trees are worth a mint! They have significant advantages: They are very fast-growing with huge leaves and are therefore perfect to provide shade. Although they have bananas only once in theirlife time (which are by the way delicious for frying to prepare red-red and other yummy stuff) and their trunks are so filled up with water that the farmers can use them for watering their cacao-plants during the dry season. For this the farmers cut the plantain trunks in pieces and arrange them around the cacao trees. The trunks give off their water for days and nights on end. This symbiotic relationship helps both the farmers and their cacao-plants.
Fluctuation prices for cacao? No problem!
Regarding the prices for cacao, 2017 was a bad year – for months the price of a tonne of cacao did not even reach 2.000 USD. The money the farmers receive for their cacao beans refers to the world market price. Because this price is fluctuating and does not guarantee plenty of money, a livelihood security is very difficult for the farmers. If this topic is interesting for you, you can read more about this in the latest cacao barometer 2018:
With a huge awareness of this problem, Yayra Glover, founder of the Yayra Glover-cooperative, had an idea for a further source for the farmers’ income: Last year Yayra talked to Hendrik and they planned to plant new coconut-palm tree seedlings. Those trees are because of their coconuts perfect for a different source of income for the cooperative-farmers. Coconuts have a stable price in Ghana: You can buy them everywhere on the streets for about one Cedi (ca. 0,20 €) for one coconut. Apart from that the coconut-palm trees are high-yielding plants: After only 3 to 4 years they bear 150+ fruits per year! So, our long-term goal is to provide also coconuts for export and under these circumstances we plant the seedlings with perfect environmental criteria and strive for organic certification.
Yayra had the idea for a test run. We bought 500 seedlings in a nearby tree nursery when we were in Ghana in May 2018. Those farmers belonging to the cooperative, who are with us the longest and are most reliable, were chosen for this test run and every of them was given about 20 seedlings. Joseph, who has studied agricultural sciences, is responsible for the farmers and is very optimistic, that all seedlings will grow perfectly. That’s because of the adverse circumstances not obvious, although the land is very fertile. Joseph:
„The best time to plant the seedlings is May to June. Till the seedlings put down roots they need a lot of water and that is why we start our project during the rainy season. After that the young coconut-palm trees get what they need from the soil.“
Each of those seedlings costs including transport about 2 Euros. At this point, we want to say thank you to all of you supporting us during our kickstart-campaign and to everybody who bought the coconut-package before Christmas – you helped us realize this! Medasse Pa!
Right now, we are curious to see how the pilot project is going and stay in close contact with Joseph and Yayra. Hopefully we can soon show you pictures of the little coconut-palm trees growing on the plantations. If everything’s working out as planned, we will soon give seedlings to all farmers of the cooperative and make this project really big.