Contract signing happens after the IGV, and a few weeks before the first planting. Even with an average allocation of 3 acres per plot going to coffee, no farmer has the capacity to plant all of their coffee trees in a day, or even a couple of days, and we wouldn’t expect them to! For this reason, when a farmer receives their first batch of trees we make sure that their labour team are present and, as a group, they all receive training and guidance from our field team.
Training covers the basics of planting the trees: removing from the bags, the width and depth of the hole, and proper placement within the hole (take care of that tap root!). It also goes beyond this to give them guidance on how to mark out the spacing of the coffee trees across their entire plot of land. Coffee trees can be planted 1m apart in rows, with a 2m gap between rows… when the land is very flat. SVG, being a volcanic island has excellent soil, but not a great deal of flat land. For this reason, ensuring the correct spacing of trees across various angles of slope is vital to make sure that the trees receive a healthy balance of sunlight and shade throughout the day. It also means that, come harvest time, the cherries can be accessed easily, while still maximizing the number of trees that any single acre can accommodate. More trees means a bigger harvest, and that’s good for both the farmer and for us!