Minor vs. Important Task

As a member of our team working with an agricultural cooperative to assist their members in implementing their lemongrass business, I am so happy, content, and proud to witness harvesting, packaging, and selling phase.

My role is to help form producer groups, facilitate the growing, and finding market for our lemongrass. Ideally, my work will be considered a success if our farmers grow lemongrass and can sell them.

It was a pretty difficult job given the fact that everything was sort of new to us; for example, convincing people to join the lemongrass business, to start growing, and to take lemongrass production serious, forming producer group, finding market, negotiating with buyer, harvesting, packaging, and transporting. In the beginning, there were people who didn't get on board with us because they didn't believe in us or the business. It was difficult to convince them to start growing lemongrass for sell. It was almost like we beg them to please start growing lemongrass.

We had to tried different approaches to explain them or make them see why they should grow lemongrass. After first quarter, we told ourselves, for our production, if we could just get our farmer to grow a batch of lemongrass in front of their house, we would call it a success. Eventually, we got 7 people growing lemongrass on 0.5 hectare of land.

In quarter 2, we started working on finding market/buyers. By the end of quarter two, we were a bit hopeless not being able to find good market for our farmers. Also, our production encountered some issues, and it was not doing well. It is still a small and weak production.

In the middle of quarter 3, we found a local buyer who bought about 20-30kg of lemongrass a day from us. That lasted only for about a week, and he stopped buying the lemongrass. We started to doubt ourselves again and became anxious that we might not be able to find buyers for our farmers. We didn't really know what to do for about 3 weeks.

Last week, we found a big buyer who is willing to buy any lemongrass we have. Three days ago, we sold lemongrass in huge amount for the first time. One of our farmers sold 300kg of lemongrass. Yesterday I helped two farmers harvest 150kg of lemongrass. Today another farmer sold 100kg of lemongrass. To be honest, we didn't expect this. But it happened. Now we know that we need to increase our production. We keep in mind also that 100-300kg a day is till a small production.

Overall, it has been a tiring journey, but we have had a lot of fun. It feels like a very rewarding work full of joy for both, our farmers and us. The farmers got to sell their produce and make some money. The brave souls, who believe in this project and jumped on board since the beginning, got to feel a sense of victory and success proving the naysayers wrong, and for us, we got to feel proud, content, and relieved.





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