In preparation for our first lemongrass harvest, we invited representatives from the Southern African Essential Oils Producers Association and from Karwil Agricultural Consulting to visit the project (4th to 7th April) and provide the farmers and team leaders with training on harvesting, drying and packing techniques.
The purpose of the visit was:
- To evaluate the lemongrass plots for harvesting
- To visit the nursery plot and advice on the way forward with regards this root stock
- To provide guidance and information on production methods.
- To demonstrate harvesting and drying techniques for lemongrass
- To have discussions on other markets, value adding potential as well as other crops that can be grown
- To discuss future prospects for development and training
- To discuss any other related problems and to provide background information
The visit included field reviews, interviews and a one-day workshop with the farmers on lemongrass harvesting and drying techniques. Farmers were also able to ask general questions, which led to discussions on land preparation, plant care, watering requirements, pest control, vegetable farming etc.
The consultants prepared a very encouraging post-visit report. The following quotes are extracts from this report:
“The farmers can be highly commended for their efforts in growing the crop successfully. What were exceptional were the beautiful weed free lands that we have observed and the dedication and eagerness of the farmers to show us their crops.”
“The way that the individual farmers interacted showed much respect and trust. The crops are in an excellent condition and the lands are well tended.”
“It was a pleasure to visit your project and to experience the high level of expert management. Your endeavours in this project are highly commendable and can serve as a model to replicate at other sites. We hope to be engaged in the future development and will support your cause by what means we are able to.”