Gearing up, forcing pineapples

March 9, 2015

Last month we reported that our pineapple crop appeared to be fruiting early, not good news given that our processing plant buyer was still shut down due to Ebola. We also were concerned that we were unable to completely understand the extent of the fruiting, because our crew was unable to penetrate the razor-sharp rows of pineapple plants due to a lack of gear, which in turn was due to Ebola quarantines and district border closings.

This month our view is a bit more optimistic. Ebola cases are steadily declining, and not long after our last report, borders reopened. Sullay Turay was able to travel to Freetown to buy the pants, gloves, goggles and boots necessary to inspect the plants. Not long after that, we received word from the processing plant that they expect to be operational in time for our harvest, which was a huge relief.

In the last few weeks, representatives from the processing plant have visited the pineapple farm and trained Sullay, Joseph and the crew on how to “force” the pineapples to fruit using calcium carbide. The purpose of forcing them is to maximize the number that fruit all at once, which creates efficiencies in harvesting and transporting.

Please keep this project in your prayers as we move toward the culmination of a two-year project. We pray that the harvest and return on investment prove to be worthy of the time local farmers have put into it, and worthy of supporter contributions.