This is Ngong Edwin from Moka Farm in Cameroon. For those of you who haven't met me yet, I am the Manager of Moka Origins Farm and out-grower activities in Cameroon. I am honored to be writing this mid-year update because we have made tons of exciting progress that is directly linked to your support of our chocolate and coffee products. From our entire team on the farm, we want to say Thank-You!
Before I get too far into the details, I would also like to acknowledge that this has been one of the most challenging years we have ever faced. We founded our farm in 2015, and throughout all the hurdles of building infrastructure, dealing with weather pattern changes, and building a tropical tree farm from the ground up, we have come a long way. However, this year was a time of peak social unrest and political upheaval, bringing fear and violence to our region and our families. Many of us were forced to run, while others were afraid of leaving their homes. This challenged our farm in a whole different way.
However, these circumstances highlight the reality that we are needed now more than ever, and we can continue to create the positive impact this region needs.
Considering all of this, this year at Moka Origins Farm I shifted the majority of our focus towards enhancing our out-grower program and our Farmer Field School. The idea is to increase our outreach and engage more farmers. At the same time, we continue to plant trees and harvest crops on our own Moka Origins Farm, and continue to demonstrate sustainable agricultural practices and be to able to provide food for our families and the markets we still have access to.
2019 Key Accomplishments
- We finished installing the regions first drip irrigation system that covers about 2-Acres of our cacao farm. We will use this to experiment with dry season irrigation to help our crops thrive throughout the entire year.
- We completed our new 26,000 liter water storage tank and river pump system. This will feed our irrigation system, store water for future use, and utilize the natural resources surrounding our beautiful vegetable farms and cacao plot.
- We expanded our banana farm to increase production as well as create shade for high-quality and healthy cacao saplings.
- We also planted thousands of trees such as oranges, papaya, avocado, mangoes, shade and environmentally friendly trees.
- We created a medicinal herbal garden to grow the plants needed for our Himalayan Institute Cameroon health product line.
- We created a public water tap system for the community to draw clean drinking.
- We started to see wildlife return to the region, which had fled due to over hunting. We take this as a sign of prosperity returning to our region.
Possibilities For Ivory Coast
Now, after hosting a delegation event of partners from Ivory Coast, we are even modeling out an expansion project to bring our nursery and out-grower model there. I'll update you more as we continue to develop these ideas further.
Focus on Africa
We farm in Cameroon, make chocolate and coffee in Pennsylvania, and work hard to bring all the attention back to our Cameroon farm and Africa as a whole.
I was born and grew up in a country and continent that receives more negative attention than positive. Especially when it comes to coffee and cacao farmers, people are hesitant to invest or purchase here because of negative views. Typically, cacao that comes from Africa is purchased in extremely high volumes, the quality of the beans are low, and in some cases un-ethically sourced. Although it is true that these problems exist, and awareness around these issues are extremely important and need to be addressed, we shouldn't overlook the ethical high-quality farms that exists as well.
By supporting ethical farms like this, we can start to change the standards around sourcing cacao. The idea of investment back into Africa's quality cacao sector is what inspired us to start the Moka Origins Farm.
We are proud to showcase African cacao, and to be making direct-trade chocolate from our Cameroon beans. We also have the honor of highlighting other farms and coops in the continent of Africa that hold similar values as our own. With these partnerships, we can showcase their beans through a specialty line of chocolate - all of which will continue to support our mission in Cameroon.
I am proud and honored to be reporting on our improvements on the Moka Origins Farm and the impact we are creating.
Talk to you again soon,