Farmer Extension Program
Farmer Training & Plant Rejuvenation
East Bali Cashews takes the livelihoods of our farmers and the use of local land seriously. Our farmer support includes introduction of cash crops, instruction on sustainable farming techniques, distribution of Village Drying Centers (VDCs), and the rejuvenation of cashew trees through an extensive seedling nursery & distribution program.
When we work with local farmers, we start with very basic techniques such as mulching, pruning or using naturally available fertilizers. Our main concern is to maximize soil health and productivity while maintaining responsible use patterns in both the dry and wet seasons, which each present unique challenges and opportunities in Ban’s impoverished but resilient environment.
As our company has grown, we have taken on greater challenges in Bali’s cashew industry. Many cashew trees in Bali are old, dying and far past their most productive days. To combat declining yields, EBC has started a cashew seedling program where we replace the old cashew trees in Bali with newer varieties. In our first year (2016), we planted 30,000 new cashew trees, and we have much bigger plans going forward.
Village Drying Centers
Waste not, want not: our cashew drying locations called VDCs, or Village Drying Centers, can be found throughout the area, allowing for strategic reduction of product loss. Following harvest, cashews often rot while sitting idle or being transported for drying, so we decided to do something about it and give farmers and traders a chance to be more involved in the value-adding process.
Collectively drying cashews in the communities before transporting them to our warehouses for processing increases the quality of our cashews as well as the value added by the farmers. Our supply manager, Made Sudarma, notes that the VDCs “have further empowered surrounding farmer families to engage in quality management and value-adding activities, raising their yearly incomes by 30 percent.”
We observed that after cashew season was over (it lasts just three months), there was little that could grow and provide income for the poor farmers of the area who survive on subsistence agriculture. So, we did what we do best, and found a solution to the fickle dry season of East Bali. After testing several resilient high-value crops to find one that would grow well in the arid environment and provide farmers with another source of income outside of cashew season, rosella emerged as a clear choice.
The bright and beautiful rosella flower is also known as hibiscus. We use rosella in a variety of products, including our granola, muesli, and snack mixes. Dried rosella can also be used for a wonderfully refreshing tea and has a myriad of health benefits, complementing our superfood cashews nicely. This cash crop furnishes farmers with extra income, enriches the soil, and just so happens to be incredibly healthy. From the farmers to the land to the tea lovers, everybody’s happy!