Authors Pierre Bois D’Enghien

Daily life of a farmer

24 hours with a farmer: an overview of the agricultural activities

As 3 million people around the world, a small farmer gets up early, before sunrise, in order to work on his field while it is fresh. Since the area of his plantation – 4 hectares – is adapted to his own work capacity, his wife can take care of the household or do the jobs that she likes.

The farmer then leaves the house to go on his plantation, by bike or walk because his plantation is never far from his home.

The planter will only reap its fruits the day the truck of the factory passes to collect them (the truck comes every 4-5 days). Other days, he will perform maintenance as weeding, applying needed fertilisers, pruning, etc. The planter starts harvesting, line by line, ripe crops.

The harvesting is done in different phases: the regime cut, cut the fruit stalk, pick up the loose fruit to the fronds of the swath, set the regimes in the wheelbarrow and the detached fruit and transporting all on the pickup area at the edge of the road.

Around 9 am, the planter takes a break and his second breakfast. At 9:30, he returns to finish the harvest around eleven.

By late morning, the truck from the factory comes to provide him the residuals, whose volume corresponds to the waste produced during machining of its crops; it may well spread them on his plantation and maintain soil fertility and soil structure.

By early afternoon, after delivering the residuals in other neighbouring small farmers, the factory truck starts the collection on a scheduled basis. Production is weighted when loading and planter receives a ticket who states the received tonnage.

In the afternoon, during the hottest hours of the day; the planter rests or, goes to meetings with the technical supervisors or managers of the factory that buys the fruit.

By late afternoon, he will pass quickly on his small nursery for watering and monitoring the health of its plants. He can now spend the evening with his family.

By Pierre Bois d'Enghien

Pierre Bois D’Enghien is an agronomist and agricultural expert from Belgium. He has spent his career advising African and international companies about agriculture and sustainability, including SOCFIN in the Cote d’Ivoire, the Feronia group in Congo, and the Belgian companies Condroz Energies. He is an acknowledged expert on plantation agriculture, including palm oil.