The water buffalo (Caraboa) is the number one working animal in the Philippines. As we could not move our small truck out of the middle of the river even with several helpers, we hired such a power bull without further ado to pull the truck onto the stony river bank. We were able to continue on our way.
From our point of view, we have a mature programme with our three “product lines”:
– myTree afforestation to give animals new habitats and to counteract the rapid deforestation.
– Mangrove afforestation to secure fish stocks and to bind an extremely high amount of CO2.
– Mahogany and teak plantations to reduce illegal logging and produce sustainable timber.
With the side activities like “building school chairs out of marine rubbish” or “sewing cloth bags against plastic” we are well utilised.
To make life easier for our partners in the mahogany and teak programme until the harvest, we had planted cacao and harvest beans of the best quality, which we sell to the chocolate maker Auro. However, selling beans does not generate the farm costs, we lose money every month. Before the pandemic, these farm losses could be absorbed by selling our chocolate products, but very many shops did not survive the pandemic. However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The economy is picking up and we are already back at many exhibitions.
Valuable agarwood seedlings. A dubious investment.
The appetite for cocoa products is increasing.
Giant Bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper) after less than three years. The person at the bottom of the photo measures 1.68 metres.
We have been watching the bamboo market for years. The bamboo builders in Thailand and Indonesia are far ahead of those in the Philippines. Especially in the careful and artistic processing, but also in the conservation and in the production of force-fit connections. However, the market is changing rapidly: bamboo is increasingly in demand as a product for paper production, as a fibre for clothing and as barbecue charcoal – which is why we include this grass in our programme.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources recently issued a decree that the barbecue charcoal, which is in huge demand here, may no longer be coked from trees, but only from coconut shells and bamboo. It will certainly take time for this decree to be implemented, but it will also take time for the first bamboo harvest. The bamboo programme saves many many trees.
In the meantime, we have repeatedly conducted bamboo experiments, for example with “cuttings”, i.e. sections of different bamboo species. These grow up to a maximum of 50 percent, while the seedlings we are planting now grow up to 95 percent. The secret is simply that the new seedlings are grown from seeds. A terrific success.
At the moment we are drawing up an economic plan in cooperation with bamboo experts to determine the price per hectare. This will take a little time, but then it will take off. Stay tuned to the bamboo.
The planting activities starts with the variant Dendrocalamus asper.
This bamboo variety (Bambusa longinternode) is super stable.