We spent the day at the World Hope office working on refining our research questions, furthering the seedling production plan, and standardizing business operations. After performing several interviews with greenhouse farmers yesterday we have identified ways to improve our research approach. By altering the questions to be more easily understood by the interviewees and the translators, we will hopefully have more in depth, useful data to inform our approaches.
Previous interviews on water savings were not providing as precise insights as needed, so after we refined our questions Khanjan came along to visit 2 greenhouses and oversee the revised script. Upon testing, the team determined that the new questions were providing much better information and that we could proceed with them to collect as much data as possible.
After we gather ample data on both the amount of water that is used for open air farming and that which is used for greenhouse farming, we can determine exactly how much water our greenhouse save on average and recommend practices to our customers. This will tell us whether or not we are meeting the water savings requirements established by the USAID SWFF grant. We will also be able to use the information to see where there is room for improvement so we can make recommendations to our farmers on how they can more efficiently use their water.
Chris and Scott developed the design for their seedling shelves and visited the carpenter, Sheku at his workshop to get the jerry cans cut properly. They then figured out how many small cups could fit within each tray to establish the number of shelves that need to be built in order to get 10,000 seedlings planted before we leave.
The purpose of the ‘seed to seedling’ focus is to understand what is available to build a seedling production system so that we can show our farmers exactly how to do it for themselves. We have seen great success with seedling sales in Mozambique and would like to replicate that process here in Sierra Leone. Selling seedlings is especially beneficial because they can be grown and transplanted many more times within a growing season than regular plants. They are also very helpful to the open air farmers who purchase them for transplant to their farms, as the seedling phase is the most vulnerable part of the growing process. When farmers grow seeds outside their germination rate is about 20-25% while growing from seedlings allows for a 90% success rate.