Trip to sanoiye

31 January, 2011 • Viktor Bengtsson • 2 minutes to read

(Post from old blog.)

I went up to Sanoiye (Bong county, 3+ hours outside Monrovia) this weekend to look at some land. We're starting up a small company to do cocoa production. For that you need a plantation, and for that you need some land. I managed to take ten photos during the day which must be considered a success since I'm up from zero.

The team in Sanoyie

The team for the day.

Cocoa seeds (ours will be a hybrid from Ghana that starts yielding in 2 years) start their life in a nursery and after 4 months or so are moved into the field. Young cocoa trees don't like the sun very much, and they need about 70% shade in the first couple of years and about 40% shade once they are fully mature. Hence, whilst hacking through the bush a whole day a lot of our time was spent gazing upwards, to see what kind of trees provide shade, and downwards, to see how much shade they provide. This is the first step in "shade management" (which sounds like something out of a spy thriller).

Jungle canopy

Investigating canopy and planning "shade management".

The bush we were investigating was all secondary forest with scattered tree crops. Some oil palms here and there, a few cocoa trees, and the odd rubber tree.

Old rubber tree

This is where your car tires start their lives (at least a percentage of each one).

After a day of hacking through the bush we found two possible sites for a nursery but no good spot to establish the farm. That means we're going back next weekend (though I'm secretly scheming to get Joe to go alone).

Jungle stream

Technically pointless motif... but I'm in the jungle and I just bought a new camera.

Young rubber trees

Young trees.

The seeds will be delivered in a couple of weeks. We start the nursery right away and at the same time we brush the undergrowth, remove unwanted trees and lay out a 3x3-meter grid. 4 months later the trees go in the ground and the waiting begins. If all goes well we're going to plant an 18-month cocoa variety next year. Anyone want to buy cocoa in a few years?

Liberian bush

Possible plantation site.