Bali is open again for domestic tourists and they came flooding in the first day, sixty flights. Nevertheless, I am (Rex Sumner) writing this in Secret Beach which is virtually empty.
Although there are always reports coming in of more covid deaths, nobody seems to actually know anybody. And, there have been protests by Balinese against the restrictions. Up in the hills, life is the same as always bar the odd person wearing a mask.
Very little work on admin at present. Still waiting for the website. I am still working on the valuation of the company assets, using discounted cash flow which seems to be the latest method for companies such as ours.
Thanks to our three MBA’s, Carlos, Lionel and Nico for their input. I still have to put the fruit trees in.
We are still awaiting our license to employ foreigners, after which we can get KITAS and IMTA, work permits. We also are amending the Akte to allow us to have Agro Tourism, breed wild animals, and various other potential businesses we are exploring.
Garden 10 is still being finished. The wire is in place, being bolted into position. Our biggest problem will always be rats. The otters aren't very good ratters.
Garden 7 is still being planted, and then we shall plant garden 10. Gardens 8&9 have been planted to fruit. They are on a very steep hillside not suitable for vanilla. The fruit is mainly avocado, with some longan and a few mangosteen. An avocado tree will produce 100kg per year after six years, fetching up to $20 per kg. This may seem more than vanilla, but we can get a thousand vanilla plants where you can only get fifty avocado.
Gardens 11,12&13 are cleared. We had to pay neighbours to remove their coconut trees, as the falling boughs cause a lot of damage. We are trying a new method here. Raised beds with breeze-blocks, no wire, but no overhead canopy. The gardens are just too big. These three gardens will host between 12 and 15,000 vanilla plants, which should give us a harvest of up to fifteen tons from these gardens alone. They are remote, so we are hoping they won’t need enclosing as protection from chickens.
We are in the process of harvesting our first crop. Don't get excited, there is barely five kilos for this is a year early. Nevertheless, we are testing and have built our own drying room to give total control over the process.
We cannot use the liquid nitrogen after all. It is less than $2 a litre, but the cost of the special container makes it not worthwhile. Instead, we are borrowing a corner of a fridge at Wanaprasta, with thanks to Tri for letting us trial it.
Diego is setting up a system for producing young vanilla plants from our very best plants. Cloning. This can produce as many ‘seeds’ as we want which we can ship easily. Each ‘seed’ will be a young plant in a ball of agar jelly and nutrients.
We are starting to see farmers coming to us for advice.
One large farmer’s entire crop failed, and now he is replanting using our methods and advice. This is all free, but gets us good relations.
In due course, we hope to buy all their vanilla – we shall of course oversee the harvesting to ensure we get the beans on time. That's a good investment opportunity.
The test house is all but complete. Needs roof and music. The birds are already congregating which is encouraging.
The focus stays on finishing the gardens,while we have identified the next garden to plant. We are working out the rental contract at present.
We remain very interested in insects, and supporting the burgeoning soldier fly industry in Java by turning the pupae into fish food.
We have our application in to combine farming with conservation and await the results. Bali Bird Park have the largest population of Bali Starlings, and they have agreed to supply us with birds once our licenses are through. We are awaiting a site visit from their scientists. We shall set up beside the aviary a café where we shall retail our products, showcase how we grow and provide the local community with a marketplace for their wares – in return for making the area a private reserve. We envision them taking tourists on guided walks to see wildlife along the river.
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