Since the rains have come, we can at last begin placing our inventory of fine cocoa grafts in the field with the producers who have joined the Xoco project. Our inventory between the three countries is 780,000 plants, but most of them are still WIP ("works in progress"). About 100,000 are ready for delivery. In truckloads of 2,400-3,200 (depending on the size of the truck), we dispach the trees to the remote locations where our producers are based. In addition to the logistical challenge, we have to be very careful not to damage any plants in the process. In 2009, the delivery process was a disaster as quality assurance was not part of the equation. Many tree deaths were caused by a sloppy delivery process. This year we have turned this on its head. I would say our current delivery process is best-in-class! This week I was in Honduras precisely to accompany and audit the deliveries and ensure that we are on track to meet our obligations to producers.
On a side note, I am thrilled by our advances in nursery production. Our production manager, Josue, has really taken ahold of the production chain. In fact, this week we set a record in Honduras for the most trees grafted in a week in one nursery: 30,000. In 2009, the best week was probably around 10,000.
Here we are in the departamento de Copan on the property of one of our producers. In the background you can see Parque Nacional Cerro Azul. (By the way, this week it only rained twice so the weather was fantastic for deliveries. The temperature was humid and high-80s: cool and comfortable by Northern Honduras standards...)
From left-to-right: Victor (Xoco's Delivery QA Manager), Me, Ruben (Technician from the NGO we are collaborating with in the region), Oscar (Producer), and Juan Carlos (Xoco Field Technician)
Delivering at another site...