We have visited Yayra Glover to discuss our collaboration and meet some of their farmers and listen to their stories a couple of days ago. We have heard heart warming stories from them and are more convinced then ever, that the hard work of Yayra and his team is really paying for their member farmers.
Yayra Glover trains their farmers not only in organic farming and pays for their certification efforts (both admin cost and the full premium during the transition period from conventional to organic farming which usually takes 2 years) they are very committed to help farmers to increase their yields. And from my impression this is at least as much worth as the organic certification the 1400 farmers that we work with have today.
While farmers usually harvest between half a bag (64.5KG) of cocoa to a full one per acre their yield explode once they have started to implement the best practices they’ve learned in the training. Some of the highlights include:
– The right timing and intensity of pruning can double the amount of cocoa pods that grow on the affected tree, best practice can be shared within minutes
– Inter-planting cassava (a few weeks in advance) will provide a growing cocoa tree with the perfect amount of shade, help the tree to mature more quickly and provide extra income, bigger shade trees are also very beneficial
– Weeding the whole farm thoroughly twice a year will remove any unwanted plants/trees that might compete for nutrients or are prone to spread diseases
– The right distance between trees is very important during planting and this highly affects productivity
The training is done in groups and there is always someone in the community who makes sure the knowledge spreads like wildfire. I have been very impressed with the visit, esp. since I had the chance to get to farmers directly again, and wanted to share a couple of pictures with you from this trip.