Mother nature is the most important thing in agriculture. Therefore we believe in sustainable agriculture that does not disturb the sensible rainforest ecosystems in Sierra Leone. A functional ecosystem does not need artificial fertilizers and pesticides; it controls itself. We do not use any chemical fertilizers or pesticides for our crops.
A major problem in Sierra Leone is the badly managed farms, caused by the long lasting civil war during the 1990s. The majority of the younger generation flew into the cities or was caught by rebels.As a result the cocoa and coffee production came nearly to a stillstand. The plantations were often left unexploited and got overgrown. Bad pruning and lack of shade management resulted in deseased pods and low crop yield. These unfavourable circumstances did great harm to the image of cocoa coming from Sierra Leone. Now, ten years after the brutal civil war, the country starts to rehabilitate. In the 2010/11 season Balmed outplanted over 450.000 new cocoa and coffee seedlings to increase the productivity of the plantations and the farmer´s income at the same time.
Our aim is to reestablish cocoa and coffee from Sierra Leone as a high quality product. Togehter with selected community groups we rehabilitate existing farms, by removing old trees, pruning and establishing new plantations. The Blockfarming system is a good way to provide employment in rural areas, and will stop mass migration to urban areas. The farmers and youth profit excessively from the rehabilitated land as it increases output for years. Hence, this means that they may be able to ensure their existence to a large degree and acquire the minimum standards in health and education.
The Agro-Forest-System is a revolutionary agricultural growing method. It is not focussed on intensive mono-culture but on biodiversity and sustainability. In this functional eco-system our cocoa and coffee grows togehter with local food crops like Cocoyam, cassava pineapples and bananas. The foodcrops guarantee constant food supplies for villages, even in the off-season. By using the Agro-Forest-System, the farmers do not depend on imported commodity products. The Agro-Forest-System provides a good base for sustainable food self-sufficiency. The Agro-Forest-Systems combines cashcrop and foodcrop within the same area, to guarantee steady and secure income and food self-suffiency at the same time.