In the morning, Dr. Sreenivasan described the history and advantages of grafting as a natural way to control and improve tree productivity. Grafting encourages farmers to think critically, observe, and monitor their trees to identify the healthiest trees with the highest yields. Young branches or off-shoots (called scions and chupons) are collected from these strong trees and attached to seedlings. If the grafting is successful, the genetic material from the healthy tree will grow on the seedling, passing on its strong characteristics.
So far, participants learned about grafting and budding. There are a few different techniques for each, and farmers were encouraged to experiment with all of the techniques. Once they become familiar with the techniques, they can learn to perfect and focus on one or two of them. It takes up to a few months to see the results, so grafting requires a lot of patience and practice.
The participants were a diverse group of farmers, agriculture extension workers, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and young people interested in farming. Everyone brought a unique perspective and all were excited to learn new skills.
Afterward, they came to tour CFFI's cocoa farm. They were impressed with the work we've done so far, and gave us valuable advice for the trees. They helped us to identify healthy new trees to nurture, and suggested monitoring which trees produce the most in order to start grafting.
|Nigel Gibbs from the Ministry of Agriculture helps participants find branches to use for grafting.|
|Participants watch a grafting demonstration by Dr. Sreenivasan|
|Participants watch a grafting demonstration by Annelle John-Holder|
|Special thanks to Maran Nursery for hosting the seminar and helping provide trees for all our participants!|
|Nigel Gibbs from the Ministry of Agriculture gets a better view of the demonstration!|
|Greenhouse facilities at the Maran Nursery.|
|Our workers Rawldon and Kimon practicing grafting techniques.|
|A side-grafted seedling by our employee Rawldon!|
After the seminar finished, Dr. Sreenivasan, Anelle and Vinosh got a tour of the chocolate factory with Jim Mort. The factory will produce authentic Grenada chocolate with cocoa beans from many of the farmers we work with!
|Jim Mort, building manager at the chocolate factory, giving a tour.|
|Dr. T.N. Sreenivasan, Annelle John Holder and Vinosh Jadoo tour the cocoa farm.|
|The Cocoa Research Centre experts giving Paula and Larry Burdick advice on grafting opportunities on the cocoa farm.|
|Paula and Dorise with the grafting experts from Trinidad|
Grafting is a great way for farmers to gain control over their trees. The seminar is so important because it exposes the farmers to advanced techniques they can do themselves. With these skills, farmers are empowered to improve their yields and even control for flavors, without having to rely on external resources or agencies.