February has been an interesting month, rather like the Curate's egg, good in parts.
Tabanan delayed by the Queen needing hospitalization before I was away to Kalimantan. She is fine, but the Raja understandably distracted. Buleleng likes the idea, wants to go ahead, but busy with ceremonies. Kalimantan did not go well. We were unable to get to the highlands and view my wife's lands for a variety of reasons. We did find that old rubber plantations appear to offer a perfect location. The price of rubber has fallen to the point the plantations are not used. Established cover that we can remove when the vanilla is mature. Simple to plant vanilla against the rubber trees. We are offered a hectare of land in a different area, but we really need more to go to another island. A lot more.
Sorting the contracts is taking TraceWorthy far longer than the two months expected, and share sales have been waiting for this, causing a small cash flow issue, especially as we are ready to expand dramatically.
One of my, and some shareholders, concerns is what if something happens to me? We believe we have solved this issue with the recruitment of Matt Shorter, who joins us on a three month performance related trial. Matt is experienced in three areas important to us. Share sales, vanilla curing and vanilla sales. His recruitment changes our timelines, for he has ready customers for vanilla right now. They understand it is not our vanilla, so we are not compromising our reputation. Of course, this isn't the vanilla season yet, but we are making plans to sell vanilla this year.
We are making plans to build our curing factory which must be ready by July. For SILATNAS, the organisation of Indonesian kings, has a five day event in Ubud then, opened by President Jokowi. All shareholders will be able to get tickets for this limited event should they wish. More details to come when available. However, we already have an indication that the President will be able to open our factory for us.
In the meantime, we finally have the correct international standard contract for Garden 14 and have started work clearing and planting. The other gardens will follow shortly, and by then we should have new locations to work with. There are two more in Bali at very early stages of negotiation.
We are working on the contracts for our associate planters, independent vanilla farmers who will work with our advice, we will cure and sell their vanilla, they get 70% of the proceeds, unheard of share but we believe correct. Already, several farmers are interested. Although they stand to make more money, they do have to wait.
On a final note, we are coming to the end of the longest and wettest rainy season in living memory, at least that of the farmers. Started early, finished late and instead of a couple of storms a month, a couple come each week. Lots of water falling. Wet rainy seasons destroyed eight vanilla plantations, large plantations, back in the nineties. Fusarium fungus ran riot and to this day farmers say root rot kills vanilla here. Nevertheless, we have come through this rainy season brilliantly. Yes, a couple of plants have succumbed, we have lost much of our small numbers of pepper plants, but 99.9% of our vanilla plants are unaffected, which is pretty good proof of concept. What we do works.
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