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The GTS potato project that I started in The Gambia in March 2008 was severely hampered by the world wide recession. My intention of returning to the Gambia in October 2009 and spending six months working on it had to be abandoned.
I suppose the delay is fitting as this is a GTS Koloi project and GTS Koloi now sands for, ‘Getting There Slowly’.
The project has definitely not died. Over the past three growing seasons I have conducted lots of trials, having analysed all the data I have started this years trial with high expectations of if not reaching, getting very close to our very ambitious target of producing 20KG of potatoes from a barrel.
I have added to the aims of the project the challenge of harvesting 10KG of potatoes from a standard size dustbin The reason for this is that the smaller container is more suitable to smaller compounds especially where water has to be carried for a long distance.
Full details of the project can be found at:- www.potatoproject.co.uk
If you have not ever done so please click on the You Tube links on the home page of the website to see how and why the project was started at GTS Koloi in 2008.
I will update the site regularly and keep you all informed as to the progress on the GTS banter bar.
I would love to hear any comments that any of you have.
Ian - great news that the potato project is still on - going as you know we had 4 barrels here, but growth was so fast we simply could not keep up with the soiling up after every so many cm growth and that caused damping off and failure of the crop. My son on his last visit used the barrels to brighten up the outside at GTS Kololi - but so glad you are almost there solving the problems.
Filly's project at Jenu Kunda is finally off the drawing board and development has started with the ECO project. The 20 foot Container was transported out there on Friday 29th April and the first building is already up to window level and will be roofed by the end of May.
4000 mud blocks use an unbelievable quantity of water which I have to fetch every couple of days from the near by village of Jiboro.
I am using a 3 wheeler Indian TutTut 150cc engine - we have fitted a tow bar and with a small trailer we take 24x20 litre containers which fill 40 gallon oil drums - (6 of them) - 4 get used immedately, so we have to refill those - about 5 or 6 trips of 4 kilometer a day, Takes almost 1 hr a trip - so not easy moving tons of water.
Once we have the base built a pipe well can be fitted - powered by solar - which will be such a luxury and hopefully aid local development which at present is struggling.
Filly is looking for volunteers to help with the development of the centre - a bit 'frontier' at the moment - but having a supply of potatoes grown in barrels will give the village a proper cash crop as a 20k sack is never under D450 and often as high as D900 and if production is all the year round this could make a big difference in rural 3rd world economies.
Looking foreward to seeing the latest results Ian
Definitely a Jenu Kunda Project.
Incidentally the latest addition at Jenu Kunda is BINGO a donkey - who loves smoked Bongo, fish bones head skin and all followed by whole mangoes seed and all.
I think Gambia is worth a visit at this time of year just to enjoy the mango crop which is full on - a large mango for less than D5 but we need potatoes Ian because mangoes are just too plentiful to provide a good income.
Lastly on the food front, cashew fruit and nuts are also plentiful - if you are out here try the fruit peeled sliced and poached with a spoonful of mixed dried fruit and a few cloves, for a first rate stewed apple substitute with custard or ice cream. We are adding it to our KFC range at GTS Kololi we have Kololi Fried Chips - which incidentally are stunning if you like proper chips and now Kololi Fruit & Cream Dessert.