ORANGE PLUCK PROGRAM by Ehime University Japan.
Saturday and Sunday / December 7-8, 2008, 3 Indonesian students and 1 Lao Student under supervisor Ass. Prof. Dr. K. OSOZAWA went to Muchachaen company. This activity is one of many programs performed by Ehime University for international student to know Japan, especially Ehime Prefecture better. The students who join were : Atus Syahbudin (Indonesia), Salongxay Raxabud (Laos), La Ode Uma (Indonesia), Indri Afriani Yasin (Indonesia).
First day / December 7, 2008.
The participant departed from Ehime University (Tarumi campus) at 08.30 by car. We need 1 hour 40 minutes until Muchachaen Office. That morning, the temperature is approximately 1 degree, snow fall and very cold, mainly for Indonesian student. But we are very happy because of snow. As long as road from Ozu until Akehama, we can see snow fall as well as mountain and trees were covered snow. At 10.10 we arrived in Muchachaen Office that located in Karihama, Akehama-cho, Seiyo-city, Ehime-ken 797-0113, phone/fax number : 0894-65-1417 / 0894-65-1638. Mr Hiroaki Maeda (Maeda San) kindly greeted us and slanted to meeting room in the second floor. Its size is 12 m x 12 m; has 4 long tables, many chairs, 1 whiteboard, and 1 set LCD projector. After a little talking, introducing office staffs and ourselves, exactly at 10.25 orange presentation started by Muchachaen staff. During 1,5 hour presentation told about :
(1) Akehama Cho, map and their local product. With strategic location face the sea/bay and hilly, Akehama-cho developed fishery and agriculture. We can say that 50% fishery and 50% agriculture. Therefore, they have many famous local products from both fishery and agriculture. Those are orange and its derivatives; pearl, shell, small fish like “nike” in Gorontalo Indonesia; and other agriculture product: sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), bombay onion (Allium cepa), and corn (Zea mays).
(2) history of Muchachaen from 1974-present time. Long time ago before be a famous plantation of orange, Akehama hill covered by potatoes (Solanum sp.). Started from 1974, Muchachaen as a company consist of orange farmers around Akehama bay, they did not have office yet. Only telephone and a small house, they used that for orange farmer meeting. Every night they have meeting for discussing about orange plantation based on their daily experiences and problems were faced. After successfully obtained ISO 14001 in 2001, then they had been operating automatically sensor machine in 2002. At present Muchachaen become famous orange company, not only in Shikoku Island but in Japan. Their product also penetrated Tokyo market.
(3) varieties of orange in Muchachaen plantation. They have mikan with small size, iokan, honkan, and sotokan. We did not find mandarin orange here. For making sure the fruit morphological, Muchachaen published in Muchachaen website.
(4) pest and disease of orange, as well as anticipate method. Insect from hymenoptera (?) is one important pest, whereas sooty mold is important disease. In the past time, Muchachaen farmer always used pesticide for keeping their plantation from pests and diseases. Finally, around 2000 they had been reducing the pesticide and preserving the orange product safety and ecological. At present time they commit to ecological life and do with better plantation.
(5) many local products from orange. Muchachaen distributed not only fresh orange, but also another product, such as: orange juice (orange liquid in a bottle), orange jam, orange cake, etc.
(6) structure of Muchachaen organization and their coordination. At present time Muchachaen consist of approximately 83 orange farmer around of Akehama. In 1974, Muchachaen started with 4 farmers, then grew 65 farmers (1993/1994), down 50 farmers (1995), then 83 farmers. Now they have 1 building with 2 floors and many office staffs. Muchachaen made connection and coordination between one farmers to others. They provided training, information, document, orange boxs, and many activities that supporting orange farmer better.
(7) orange packaging. The detail information presented in the afternoon activity. In that time the participant practised this step in farmer warehouse.
(8) Information Technology (IT). Farmer in Muchachan operated computer and internet connection For making contoll and comunication more effective and efficient. From every farmer house, they input the data, connect with Muchachaen office and comunicate with consument. Therefrom, they are educated farmer. In early time, partial of them could not operate computer. But because of eager, they studied and finally at present time all farmers can operate computer and internet connection. Muchachaen also has private website : http://www.muchachaen.com.
At 12.10 presentation was finished and all participant went to FURUSATO hostel by car. Lunch was did also in Furusato from 12.40-13.30. In the afternoon, 13.45-16.30, participant were devided 2 groups. One in Nishino San’s warehouse, those are Atus Syahbudin and La Ode Uma, as well as Salongxay Raxabud and Indri Afriani Yasin in Emiko San’s warehouse. In this afternoon we studied about orange packaging. We were very happy with this new experience. Why ? Because we could studied many steps of orange packaging: HOW (1) to make orange box from sheets; (2) to select good quality of orange based on size and morphological. A good orange is not too small, no imperfection and holes in the skin can cause rotten orange, as well as its skin not hard or green. After harvesting, orange must to left 4-5 days in the storehouse for knowing which rooten orange or not. If an orange was eat by bird in the plantation and harvested, it wil be rooten in the storehouse and farmer can select them easily; (3) to uplift many orange baskets from one place to another efficiently; and (4) to arrange many box contain orange tidy.
In this afternoon program we also fortune, we could discussed with the orange farmer. How and when they started their companies, kind of problems faced, about family, etc. We eat snack, while outside was very cold and snow fall. At 16.30 we permitted from their warehouses and went to take a bath between 17.00-18.30 in ofuro, 3-5 minutes from Furusato hostel by car. Wow, new experience for us, new bathing method. In that time, snow fall around the ofuro building. So, it is very nice.
After prepared the room, notebook and LCD, at 19.00-20.30, we have the dinner in Furusato restaurant with many kind of japanese cuisine and fruit. We enjoyed this dinner because of delicious. There are 9 persons who joined the dinner. Those are 4 students, 1 supervisor, 2 muchachaen office staffs and 2 orange farmers. 20.30-22.00 after dinner, in the same place, we have chance to introduce our country and research. In the first time, during 15 minutes, Salongxay San presented about Laos country, history building, food, tourist destination, market, people, and agriculture. The second time, Atus continued to present about Indonesia country, traditional food and costume, universities as well as history building). In the last time, Osozawa Sensei explained about his sago research in many countries in the South East Asia. The meeting finished by informal discussion until 00.30 (midnight).
Second day / December 8, 2008.
The activities in the second day started at 08.30. Two groups that made in the first day were changed to be different farmer. I think this method could improve the relationship between participant and farmer. After a short briefing, we moved to orange plantation. During two hours (09.30-11.30) partisipant have big chance to learn about orange pluck. We went to plantation in the hill with very good view, because sunny with 5-7 degrees. In this time, we learn many things by doing. Those are :
HOW (1) to pluck the orange from the orange stalk. Actually, the farmer pluck the orange twice. First time, just for cutting with the sort stalk. Then, cut again for tidying the stalk flat with the orange skin. This second cutting is very important, if not, the stalk can destructive the others orange skin;
(2) to harvest and to bring orange safety from the tree in the abrupt slope. In this case, we need a true position with our foot, use stair/ladder for achieving higher branch, monorail for distributing many orange baskets to another location in the lowland area. Special clothes, boot and glove were needed for supporting orange harvesting easily and safety.
At 11.30 ORANGE PLUCK PROGRAM finished. We permitted to Muchachaen staff and said “arigatou gozaimasu”. Only 2 days, but very interesting and useful with new knowledge, new experience, new friends and connection; great and favorable with snow, good viewing of orange plantation, beauty bay, coastal forest, and blue sky. Next year, if any chance, if possible, I will join this program again.
All international students and Osozawa Sensei at 12.00 continued the travelling went to Matsuyama City. But near Ozu, 47 minutes from Akehama Cho, we visited Machinami, Uciko, a nice villages with wax as special product. In this hilly area we also studied about good agriculture that made this village to be rich hill. 15.04-16.00 we moved to a famous traditional market, 10 minutes from Machinami. The market sold many local agriculture product and flowers. Still fresh and cheap prize. This market cooperated with local farmer around the market for distributing their local product. The government also supported them with many facilities.
16.00 We finished all of the activities and came to Tarumi campus, Ehime University at 16.25. As long as road we take many photos and see the subtropical forest in early winter, still colourful.