And again we find a puchaser of a hotel, who would buy the fresh beetroot and zucchini from the Baddibu gardens in The Gambia for a good price – provided, that the gardeners can deliver 25 kilograms per week! In practice this now means… Read
You may recall that one year ago, we were able to establish business contacts with some of the big hotels at the Gambian coast and that they wanted to be supplied with the vegetables of the Baddibu gardens. Unfortunately, the first large order of onions was cancelled in the last moment, because cheap imports from the EU arrived.
Not giving up, project manager Momodou and the project participants wanted to gain market advantages by cultivating vegetables even in the „off-season“, the rainy season, thus being able to offer vegetables at unusually barren times. This idea failed, too. This time due to unusually heavy rains, which completely destroyed the plantings.
But these are the realities that the project participants have to deal with.
Together with project manager Momodou, we again started looking for possible customers of the Baddibu vegetables. And we get lucky. At some point we find a purchasing officer of a hotel, who would buy fresh beetroot and locally grown zucchini from the gardens – IF we can deliver 25 kilograms a week. For 75 Dalasi / kilo (1.50 €).
In practical terms, this now means that the gardeners must be able to harvest at least 10 beds of zucchini every week to meet this demand. And every week a complete bed with about 100 beetroots. And regular supplies must be guaranteed. An ambitious project that once again requires meticulous planning!
Gardens coordinate planting cycles
The first attempt to grow vegetables during the rainy season had failed. Now, after the beds have been redressed and fully planted from November, we are now again at a crucial step: finally entering a coordinated garden plan, which must be adjusted to planting cycles, crop rotation, climate situations as well as demand and supply. And of course a greater diversity of products.
In this process we also want to re-try what is so called „off-season cultivation“, because this is how we can achieve the highest prices on the market. For example, with some of the tomatoes that actually survived the heavy rainfalls last year and that we could sell in the „off-season“ the gardeners earned more than 60 Dalasi per kilo, while in February prices could fall below two Dalasi per kilo. This applies not only for tomatoes but all vegetables. This is why we want to try it again and coordinate the planting cycles accordingly
As of February 2018, the gardens look great. Especially in Dutabullu, the village which started a diversified cultivation as one of the first community garden. The gardeners have done a great job. The garden looks like a paradise. Every patch of soil is planted, they experimented with mixed cultures and vegetable friendships, planned according to the planting cycle of the subsequent fruit – they could not be prepared any better.
A good chance for a promising business partnership.