Posts Tagged ‘Pineapple’

Violent Storm Damages Las Palmas Crops

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

We’ve received some disturbing news from Mario Lora, ICC’s business and farm manager at the Las Palmas Campus in the Dominican Republic. On Friday, May 27 an isolated and violent storm swept through the Las Palmas campus and caused extensive damage to the farm crops which had been growing in such abundance.

Weather forecasts had not predicted the storm, and it hit the campus unexpectedly and with terrific force. According to Mario, “Its radius of action was practically in our locality and towards the mountains. In fact, the nearby city of Bonao had no damage.

“We understand that it affected an area of about 10 square kilometers with us in the center. We haven’t heard anything about it on the news, and everyone who comes here is surprised when they see the destruction.

“In fact, one of the engineers in charge of the greenhouse project, when he came here was stunned because he didn’t know this had happened, and he was investigating a lot to see what happened. It was quick, only lasting about 20 to 25 minutes as a strong storm, and then the rain lasted for a long time afterward. There was no warning to prepare.”

Plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm destroyed by a focused storm.

Some of the destroyed plantain trees from the Las Palmas farm

About 2/3 of the plantain crop was damaged by the heavy winds and rain that accompanied the storm. Many of the trees were laden with plantains and according to Mario, “With a few exceptions, all trees that had stalks (bunches) of plantains fell to the ground. The stalks varied a lot, from ones that were just flowering to those that were ready to harvest.

Of the trees that didn’t have stalks, only a few fell to the ground, but a very small percentage. We think that about 2,500 plantain trees fell over. Each stalk has about 30 to 40 plantains, which at the current market price are worth between 5 and 7 pesos, so each stalk is worth about 150 pesos [$4.05]. When we multiply that by 2,500 trees, it comes out to a loss of about 375,000 pesos [$10,135]. Also, we were left with about 1,250 trees which will start flowering in the next three months.”

The loss of the trees means more than the loss of the crop. A tree can produce several crops, plus they produce other “children” – small trees that grow up to the next generation. Mario, the staff and children at Las Palmas have quickly started the process of rehabilitating trees that can be salvaged and planting new trees.

Mario states that, “when we plant a new crop it takes about 8 or 9 months to start producing.” One piece of good news is that the project already has enough seeds to do the replanting and together with rehabilitating the damaged trees, the project should be able to expand the crop. This will have to wait until the rains allow the workers to prepare the land.

Plantains are a staple crop at the children’s village. This loss will certainly impact the project. Mario continues. “Of the production that we had projected, we consume almost the entire crop. What was happening at this moment was that as the plantains would get ripe we would cut them for use in the homes. They were not all ready to cut at the same time. In fact, many times we have had to cut them before they were really ready because of the needs in the homes.”

One of the other important crops at Las Palmas is Yucca. Mario estimated that perhaps 30% to 40% was affected. Since Yucca are tubers, it’s difficult to say at this time what the effect of the storm may be. However, there was significant damage to the plants themselves and the tubers may rot or not develop normally.

Garden vegetables were also hit hard, and according to Mario, “everything we had was ruined.” The house father and children of house 4 on the Las Palmas campus had put forth dedicated effort to supply the homes with vegetables. Mario estimates that this was valued at the equivalent of $135 per week so over the next 8 weeks as they wait for new crops to mature, they’ll need to spend about $1,080 to replace what was lost.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm.

Two hatchlings sleep in their nest after the storm

There are some bright spots in all this discouraging news. All the children and staff escaped unharmed. Praise God for that! Also, the sweet potato, corn and pineapple crops were not damaged. As well, there is something telling about how Mario describes the attitude of the staff and children on campus. “What has impressed me the most in all this,” he states, “is the good spirit that exists among the employees and the kids. We can see complete unity in order to reestablish, with God’s help and our efforts, what has been damaged. We have courage to continue on as long as the Lord gives us the strength.”

We’re pleased to report that when the Versacare Foundation heard about this tragedy, they immediately provided a donation of $10,000 to help with this food emergency. What a blessing this is! Additional funds are needed, and if you would like to help, please mark your donation “Las Palmas Farm and Food Fund.” It will directly assist with this need.

Thank you for your generous support.

Kent Greve
Director International Development ICC

Los Pinos Inaugurates Bakery

Monday, April 4th, 2011

On Monday, March 28, the children of Los Pinos as well as staff members and dignitaries, were able to celebrate the opening of the Los Pinos bakery. The objective of this project is to produce and sell baked goods to the local market. This will provide revenue to support the program of care for children at Los Pinos.

The organization, Food for the Poor, contributed to the remodeling of the bakery building. The German Embassy in Guatemala provided funds for bakery equipment. Items purchased with this donation included 1 oven with a capacity of 14 trays, 1 mixer with a 20 liter capacity, 1 mixer with a 20 pound capacity, 100 trays, 3 racks with casters, 2 stainless steel tables.

Equipment that is used in the Los Pinos Bakery

Equipment, purchased with a grant from the German Embassy in Guatemala, used in the new Los Pinos bakery

The German Consul, Mr. Markuz Graetz, attended the opening ceremonies. Also present were the Municipal Mayor, Mr. Angel Kilkan; the Carpio’s, directors of Los Pinos Peten; Anabela Alejos, director of ICC Development Department in Guatemala; Los Pinos school staff; office staff; parents and all the children.

Joel Carpio welcomed all those present and gave introductory comments for the ceremony. Then Mr. Kilkan spoke. He said that he admired the social work that Los Pinos had done for a long time for Guatemalan children. Then Mr. Graetz spoke. He enjoyed the special recognition from the 7th grade class who wrote “THANK YOU” in the German language. The children in first grade shared a typical song, and at the end of the program, a boy gave special thanks on behalf of all the children.

Anablea Alejos, Joel Carpio, Markuz Graetz

Anablea Alejos, Joel Carpio, Markuz Graetz

After the first part of the program was finished, Mr. Graetz cut the ribbon to officially open the bakery. Participants enjoyed refreshments of bread produced in the bakery and Jamaica juice. Before leaving the campus, the Mr. Graetz asked to see more of the children’s village. Before visiting, he thought there would be only a small facility for the children, and he was impressed by the size and scope of ICC’s work.

Joel Carpio took him on a tour of the gardens, pineapple plantation, papaya plantation, and the chicken house. Mr. Graetz was amazed to see how the staff are using the natural resources. Joel also took him for a visit to one of the children’s home. Mr. Graetz was impressed with the Los Pinos project and said he would welcome another project proposal.

Markuz Graetz and Joel Carpio inspect the Los Pinos pineapple plantation

Markuz Graetz and Joel Carpio inspect the Los Pinos pineapple plantation

Thanks for reading!

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC

Happenings at ICC Nicaragua

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

[This blog post was updated on March 30th, 2011]

[UPDATE] Since this post was first published, we’ve received more information from Felix Almendarez on the progress of the farm.

Pineapple Crop “Starts”
Felix, director of the ICC children’s village in Nicaragua, recently determined that he would plant a pineapple crop.  He made a contact with a personal friend who also grows pineapples. Felix’s friend was willing to assist him.

The new pineapple grove at ICC Nicaragua's Fuente de Vida Children's Village

The new pineapple grove at ICC's Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua

They went into the friend’s field and began digging up starts from beside mature plants.  After awhile it appeared that they had collected about 500 plants. Felix’s friend was selling the starts for 1 Cordova (about 5 cents) each, so Felix decided he wanted a few more. After leaving the field, Felix thought he had about 700.  However, it turned out that there were more than 900 when the planting was done in the ICC garden.

Felix was so excited about having this new pineapple crop that he decided to get some more.  When he went back to his friend’s field he got another 1,000 starts.  In all, nearly 2,000 plants are now flourishing in the ICC Nicaragua garden, and Felix only spent about $100.  Since many of the starts were pretty mature to begin with, they will start to produce in about 9 months.

Farm House Completed
A group from Canada who have been friends of our project for many years came to Nicaragua to do some other projects. They stopped by to see Felix and Angelica and asked them what they could do to help. Felix told them about the need to get the farm house finished – floor, doors and windows – so that someone could live in it and take care of the farm. These friends provided all the funds to do that. Now Felix has hired an Adventist couple to take care of the farm and live in that house.

The new farm house at the Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaragua

The new farm house at ICC's Fuente de Vida Children's Village

Canadian Group Adds Beauty to the Children’s Homes
Three of the members of the Canadian group stayed for a few days and planted flower gardens around the homes. We appreciate their help very much.

Flowers planted outside house four of ICC's Fuente de Vida Children's Village in Nicaraga

Flowers newly planted at House Four of ICC's Fuente de Vida Children's Village

[UPDATE] Felix Almendarez, the administrator of our ICC Nicaragua campus, today was telling us that they have really been blessed with good crops on this land. He is amazed at the production and the size of the vegetables. They have cucumbers, zucchini, corn, tomatoes and other things.

Felix with cucumbers grown on the farm at our ICC Nicaragua campus.

Felix with cucumbers grown on the farm at our ICC Nicaragua campus.

A closeup of the cucumbers grown on our ICC Nicaragua campus

A closeup of the cucumbers grown on our ICC Nicaragua campus

Thanks for reading!

Kent Greve
International Development Director ICC