latest plantation
Our Latest Plantation

I am delighted with our latest garden, number 15.

First, signing the contract was a breeze,  indicating that our problems in the mountains of Bangli are down to traditional customs.  The landowner possesses all the requisite documents, we didn't need to create new legal titles for him.

The Landowner is a retired village headman, so commands great respect.  I suspect he has been selected to test us on the grounds we will be due to look after him! He wishes to spend less time on his farming and the idea of us working the land and providing him with his 20% share while he sits in the shade is appealing.  Especially when his 20% will come to far more than he could hope to earn with rice.

Which brings me to the reason for my delight.  These are ricefields that we are going to plant with vanilla.  The first time.  This is what I want to see the farmers doing, growing more valuable crops than the toxic rice that keeps them poor and sick.

A hectare planted with rice will bring the farmer perhaps 60 million rupiah per year, income not profit. I hate to imagine the costs.

A hectare planted with vanilla should return 2 billion Rupiah per year and potentially a great deal more. His 20% share of 400 million is still nearly 7 times more than rice...

60 million rupiah is less than $3,000. 400 million is nearer $25,000.

That's just the financial argument.  The vanilla does not need chemical fertilisers.  It doesn't need expensive equipment.  It's freedom for the farmers.

We're not philanthropists, and neither are we greedy.  We make money from our own land and our own crops, while demonstrating to the farmers the process.  We'll help them cure their vanilla and we'll sell it for them.  On commission. This lets many, many farmers become wealthy.  Its rather nice for us as well - we're not a charity.  We are in the business of making our shareholders wealthy.

There are numerous side effects.

Culture spreads as farmers send their kids to art school.

Health improves without toxic chemicals affecting whole villages.

Nature and insects come roaring back without pesticides and the flowing plants we include.

On a small scale, we trap carbon the perfect way, into loam.  The trees and plants use the carbon and release the oxygen, we compost their leaves and branches, retaining the carbon in the soil.

Indonesian exports rise, contributing to a wealthier population.

Small steps making great strides.

I believe that the retired headman is just the first, and we’ll see many more farmers following him.  Indeed, I have already turned down one other farmer because his location was not suitable.  We need to concentrate our farms at the moment so that our workers are fully employed.

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