The story of how Roy got to have 300 podosiri plants in his backyard
Roy Naingfa has 300 podosiri plants in his backyard. He is a farmer and he has learned to grow these palms as a result of his involvement in a project developed by the Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting (Father Ahlbrinck Foundation). This initiative is supported by the United Nations in Suriname through the Global Environmental Facility/Small Grants Programme (GEF/SGP).
“I started growing podosiri in 2010”, explains Roy. At the beginning he would go into the forest and cut the palm trees to get the precious fruit. “After some time I realized that it was not very sustainable, so I learnt how to climb the palms to get the podosiri”, continues. “But it is more convenient to have them in my backyard”.
Podosiri, also called acai berry, is a popular fruit in the Eastern part of Suriname. It is used to cook and to produce tasteful juices. Harvesting, processing, and marketing the fruit provide an income to many people. The production business is currently on an early stage, but the demand of this crop is growing.
Through this GEF/SGP project, Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting is supporting several farms in Perica, Moengo-Tapoe and Marijkedorp. The farmers involved in the project learn how to grow the palms, harvest the fruit and run their own production.
“I didn’t know how to plant podosiri”, explains Roy. “Now I have my own podosiri and I know it is a good business and that there is a market outside Suriname. In a few years I hope to expand and be able to hire people”.
The PAS Foundation also promotes a sustainable management of the farms, which will eventually reduce pressure on the environment and enhance the economic situation of the farmers.
The success of the project depends on small farmers like Roy and he is enthusiastic about the future of this business: “I have now 300 trees. They still have no fruit, but I am confident they will grow soon”. With these words, he participated in August in the first Podosiri Conference in Suriname, where he shared his experience and enthusiasm with the rest of the attendants.
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