Kilimanjaro Day 5
Day 5 was spent touring Tudeley Estate’s farms, Kibo and Kikafu. Jackson Matenge was my tour guide for the day-- Tudeley Estate’s acting general manager
Kibo Estate is the largest of Tudeley’s farm, measuring in at 214 hectares. One of Kibo’s unique characteristics is its coffee nursery; part research facility, part growing facility, and part farmer donations. The nursery hosts around 200,000 plants, mostly of the F-6 variety which are resistant to Coffee Berry Disease (CBD) and Leaf Rust (La Oroya in Spanish). Additionally, Kibo is growing SL-28, Tanzania’s traditional variety which boasts high volume of cherry and a deep rooting system, but is susceptible to traditional coffee diseases. A lot of effort is put into all of these seedlings, and generally they grown faster than the seedlings at TaCRI (Tanzanian Coffee Research Institute). Jimrod is in charge of the nursery, coordinating the cutting, germinating, planting, and nurturing of all 200,000 plants. It takes coffee seeds 1.5 months to germinate before they sprout and are ready for transfer to individual pots. After germination, the coffee seedlings must grow from 8 months in pots (plastic bags filled with dirt) before they are ready to be planted in the field. Only topsoil is used in pots for planting seedlings, and all of the soil used comes from Kibo Estate. Each woman is paid by the task of 200-300 seedlings planted per day.
Kibo is also growing shade trees (Lbiza- nitrogen fixing, Wild Mango-good for shade) in the nursery to replace damaged or removed trees from the farm. Jackson remarked that Tudeley tries to keep 45% shade cover on all of their farms. Kibo also is testing out Jatropha trees, a nut bearing tree whose oil can be used for biodiesel. This project is still new, so they don’t have any results from data yet.
Kibo is planted in lots, which vary from new seedlings to stumps from 1948 when the farm was founded (much before the Legg family ran the place). They have a water collection point which funnels water 5 km from the local river through a farrow and is used for irrigation on both Kibo and Kikafu Estates. The water is filtered with gravel filters and distributed to the Estate by motor and gravity. All of the trees are planted on a grid, although the disease resistant plants are planted closer together than the 9x12 feet required for traditional varieties. Trees are stumped after a maximum of 6 years, and pruned in a V-shape down the middle called a chimney opening (2 stems).
Kibo random facts: homemade greenhouse, conservation area where no coffee is planted, produces maize for export, avocado trees will dent your car if you are not careful about where you park, pickers and pruners have worked on the farm for many years and are very experienced so that every tree is pruned in the same way.
Kikafu, Swahili for “wit”, is 135 hectares. They do not have a nursery or conservation area, but otherwise the coffee is produced in the same way. 40 hectares of the farm is watered by drip irrigation from the dam on Kibo Estate.
More to come soon!