As part of our ongoing monitoring and evaluation strategy and in accordance with requirements of organic certification bodies, we continue to monitor biweekly the growth of our lemongrass plants, the maintenance of our fields, and the use of any substances on our plants. The monitoring includes plant height measurements and records the average number of stalks per plant. This biweekly data collection system enables us to identify factors that enhance or inhibit the growth of the lemongrass and to identify problems early and provide farmers with support or information where this is necessary.
Since the May harvest we have seen impressive regrowth in most of our fields, with many plants reaching 60% of their pre-harvest size within one month of harvesting.
We have also been experimenting with various field maintenance options. As an example, we have reduced watering and weeding activities in one or two rows of lemongrass in each field and will be monitoring the growth of these plants compared to the other rows of lemongrass that are regularly watered and weeded.
These experimental and monitoring activities combined are designed to ensure maximum yield and quality at minimum effort to participating farmers. By reducing the amount of watering and weeding that farmers have to do, we will enable them to increase their plot sizes (currently limited by watering constraints) and hence increase their likely income from the project.
We are delighted that many of our farmers have already decided to extend their lemongrass fields.