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Since we last reported, our first crop cycle has advanced and many of our long term crops, coffee and cocoa, have been planted. It’s been a time of fast learning and growth in all of our people to fulfill our plans and meet our objectives.
Northwest Arabica coffee farming
The team procured seed potatoes and planted 2 hectares of potatoes just as the rainy season was beginning. Two varieties are growing: Cipira and Dorsa. The early batch suffered from too much precipitation and moisture, and has shown signs of blight (disease). The later batch benefitted from the application of anti-fungal treatment. We’re seeing that the Cipira is superior to Dorsa in disease resistance.
The team also planted 3.5 hectares of white beans. They are growing, having blossomed, despite significant competition with weeds. We expected our labor force to be able to maintain the fields clear, however, the team’s efforts were focused on potatoes, which cost more as seed, and offer a potentially much larger return on investment.
Our chili pepper nursery is also progressing. We’re testing several varieties (some improved varieties developed in France, sold in Cameroon), some local varieties, and selecting those that seem to be healthiest and most well suited to our geographic location. These peppers are being transplanted to the field as we speak. We are also researching the the feasibility of growing tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage as cash crops.
Coffee seedlings are progressing to saplings in our nursery. In June and July, the fields were laid out for proper placement and spacing of coffee to be intercropped with plantain and pepper. The first batch of about 8,000 have just been planted over 5 hectares! This is an exciting accomplishment that takes us toward our long term goals. The second batch of roughly the same size will be planted in April 2018.
Challenges we face include:
- Livestock wandering onto the property: Remedy by completing our fence to a higher standard to prevent this and making agreements with the neighbor who owns them to compensate us for losses, when he didn’t have the supervision he promised in place.
- Labor: Members of our team have never been part of an operation at this scale, so we are mentoring and training them to plan better and optimize the use of the work force to accomplish our objectives at the farm level.
- Getting fully scaled on our site: we have not yet been able to plant on all of the land (1.5 ha not yet plowed / harrowed). While the site is accessible by dirt road, we’ve had a hard time lining up all the pieces of operation as needed. For example, getting the land plowed and harrowed requires hiring a tractorist, having all the mechanical supplies, transporting the tractor, and having good weather. We face similar challenges to accessing and transporting other supplies.
Center cocoa farming
The preparation of the land as an agroforestry system remains very challenging.
Ten of our 20 hectares are converted to agroforestry with cocoa/plantain. The other 10 hectares will be prepared and planted next year when we have some revenue to invest. We are doing some ongoing clearing and planning to add cocoyam, tomato, and chili peppers.
Yet, these last few months have seen significant progress. The field team is somewhat stable, consisting of Emmanuel, Desmond, and Ruphine who relocated from the Northwest and Manga and Florent from the Southern part of the Center. The camp shelter is built, and the team is able to stay there and work, with a rotating leave schedule. The restroom construction is underway. We are using bottled water for drinking & cooking and with using water from a neighbor’s well for other activities until we can invest in and construct our own.
These advances mean the agriculture is officially begun, too. The layout and spacing advanced so that on part of the land we planted 10,000 cocoa saplings alongside 1,000 plantain saplings. Development of tomato nursery is underway.
We still face challenges of poor telecommunications & difficult physical access to the site due to it being remote and off an unmaintained dirt road. Talks with the village chief are ongoing to find a solution for the road. This environment requires a manager to be exceptional; we made a change to the staff in that role to better support the field team and to support our ability to support the Cameroon team from the US.
Irrigation & Infrastructure Projects
The co-operative education arrangement we made for the the design and construction of SGI’s combined Aquaculture and Drip irrigation system is winding down. The 3 undergraduate students and one doctoral candidate provided us with a high level design of the wind mills (to power a pump) and water need estimates. A design of the complete system will be done at a later date when further infrastructure investment is feasible. We look forward to implementing the designs in the future.
Additional infrastructure plans are being carefully considered and prioritized, such as digging wells and building processing (drying station) and storage areas.
Each farm has a 12 month plan in place with a schedule for when to apply treatments to crops and soils, approximate harvest, processing, and planting cycles. Further research is being conducted to select high market value food crops to grow and most sustainable or environmentally friend treatments to use. Preparations are now being made for the upcoming harvests, food processing, sales, and transport.
We continue to learn from every move and to persevere toward our vision of making a positive impact upon people’s livelihoods and empowerment through sustainable agriculture.
Thank you for your support of our work. We’ll report back again next quarter.
Arabica coffee farming
Irrigation & Infrastructure Projects
Dear friends, family, and new connections,
Patrick and I want to sincerely thank you for your generosity and support for our project in Cameroon. At this time, we have raised $8,000 from 65 contributors (thought the site says differently). Wow! We are ecstatic and overjoyed that you believe in this venture and have chosen to help make it a reality.
At this point, we are getting ready to apply for social impact grants and loans to further our fundraising needs. We have been approached by several village chiefs in Cameroon who have expressed interest in bringing our investment to their villages. Overall, we have received very enthusiastic feedback from Cameroonian locals and there is excitement about Smart Globe International.
Again, thank you for your contributions and we will keep you posted on our next steps as we advance.
Mara and Patrick Tcheunou
As this Labor Day week comes to a close and we remember the losses of 9/11/01, I reflect and am so grateful for the fact that I am in a country with opportunity for education and training, opportunity for work and opportunity to build a safe and prosperous environment for my family, especially for my son and his little brother (we’re expecting). Yet, I am saddened about the millions of migrants fleeing Africa to Europe or Central and South America to this country, the United States of America. Fathers and mothers are fleeing wars and poverty looking for a place where they can get a job and a safer life for their children.
In Cameroon, my home country, thousands of people leave and walk weeks by foot to reach Libya, where they board unsafe boats to cross the Mediterranean, reach the shore of Europe and to an unknown destination. Currently, Cameroonian families who survive the journey wait, stuck and trapped on European shores trying to get in. All because they have lost any sense of hope in their homeland.
Can you even imagine the extreme pain those parents are experiencing? Can you imagine the desperation and love they must feel that would push those fathers and mothers to embark upon such an unimaginable, sad, and risky journey with their children? I grew up in Cameroon, seeing first-hand the extreme poverty and lack of opportunity that drives these women and men to leave their homeland. I was extremely fortunate to get enough education to get out of Cameroon and “make it” in America.
I know and feel strongly that we all need to provide these fellow humans with a better alternative. We need to provide them with what they need to stay home, take care of their family and cherish their homeland and culture. We need to invest in those countries if we can. We need to create jobs, promote education and inspire them that more is possible. The UN calls this sustainable development, and it’s a win-win proposition for investors and the people in those countries!
We can show them that true equality, individual responsibility, questioning status quo and innovation are essential ingredients to development. If enough investment reaches that country, fewer families will want to take the dangerous journey to Europe, more small cultural/tribal groups will maintain their languages and traditions, and many young people will have no reason to consider joining extremist groups like Boko Haram.
For me, growing up without these kinds of opportunities, I was very fortunate to have educated parents, who earned the minimum necessary to support our pursuit for education and pushed us. I was able to obtain my Engineering Degree and then come to the US for graduate school. While it is a nice story of success and immigration, I am far from my family, my homeland, and my culture. And, many people in my family and my entire village do not have access to or even want this life.
My wife and I created Smart Globe International as a way to meet the many challenges described above. We will start two fair trade farms, for Cameroonian cash crops coffee and cocoa. The farms will create good paying jobs, opportunities for women, and access to technical education while meeting the growing demand for coffee and cocoa and boosting the shrinking supply of both. Additionally, we will contribute to more food security in Cameroon by integrating food crops that provide shade and nutrients for the coffee and cocoa. [The country of Cameroon has already committed to support sustainable growth of these crops as part of its economy and to increasing food security for its citizens.]
The Smart Globe International endeavor, like any well-thought profitable socially conscious investment, will produce these kinds of positive social impacts not only in Cameroon, but in the US and Europe in the long term.
Please consider the investment in opportunity that Smart Globe International provides as a means to self-sufficiency, safety, and education for those who need. Watch our video and donate here: http://igg.me/at/smartglobe. Thank you in advance for your donation and for sharing with your friends and family.
Smart Globe International Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Acquire Seeds for Sustainable Farms in Cameroon
Name: Mara Trager Tcheunou
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver, Colorado — September 2, 2015 Today, Patrick and Mara Tcheunou, founders of Smart Globe International (“SGI”) announce a crowdfunding campaign to seek support in building sustainable farms in the Central African nation of Cameroon, Patrick’s homeland. The project starts with the development of approximately 1,000 acres of land on two farms of fair trade Arabica coffee and cocoa for export to the United States.
This is exciting news for coffee and cocoa lovers. Data shows the demand for coffee and chocolate products has been increasing while production has decreased. To make matters worse, a 2011 report published by the Bill and Melinda Foundation warns that chocolate might soon become a luxury product because of climate change. SGI’s farms are expected to create immediate job opportunities in Cameroon and in Denver, Colorado.
SGI’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign seeks to raise $105,000 to purchase seeds for coffee, cocoa and their bio-diversification crops. The crowdfunding campaign will run for 40 days and the SGI seeks support from people interested in supporting an organization committed to sustainable farming and social causes in Cameroon. “We believe that our company can care about the environment, community, and offer a quality product while still making profit.” Smart Globe International CEO Patrick Tcheunou said.
Patrick and Mara have no doubt that this will be a great undertaking and are confident of the success and the potential to help communities in Cameroon while advancing the causes of sustainable and fair trade farming. “We’re thrilled to launch our campaign as we know that we’ll be aiding Cameroonians while providing desirable coffee and cocoa to consumers,” Smart Globe International co-founder Mara Trager Tcheunou said.
Anyone interested in supporting SGI’s crowdfunding campaign is encouraged to donate via http://igg.me/at/smartglobe and share the effort on social media platforms.
About Smart Globe International
Denver-based Smart Globe International is a fair trade coffee and cacao farming organization that is committed to advocating for gender equity in the workforce in Cameroon.
Please support SGI’s crowdfunding campaign here: http://igg.me/at/smartglobe
Please visit SGI’s website to learn more: http://smartglobeinternational.com/
Follow SGI on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram
Founders invited family and friends to celebrate the launch of the long-anticipated crowdfunding campaign. Co-founder and CEO, Patrick, spoke of the incredible gratitude he has for the support people have provided him as he crusades to provide opportunities for the people of his homeland, Cameroon, to make something of themselves. He was overwhelmed by the support of his wife Mara, Co-founder and Communication Director. Their son, parents, Denver team, and friends toasted to honor the beginning of this endeavor and Patrick’s absolute dedication to creating positive impacts in Cameroon. The ultimate goal is to improve the lives of farmers, and especially women and children, who face poverty every day, and provide an opportunity to overcome it.
Please donate & share the campaign: http://t.co/1xG2pPe1nu
Tribes of the West, Southwest and Northwest provinces of Cameroonproduce most of the country’s coffee. Men own the land and the women farm it. In fact, laws forbid women from owning land. While female coffee farmers and cooperatives in Cameroon constitute only 10% of the production, it does not meanthat women have not been active in the sector. In fact, theparticipation of women in Cameroonian coffee farming started at the same time as men. In the decades to come, there is a real risk of a shortage of coffee due to climate change ……