Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - February 2018 Update

Antananarivo, Madagascar

We are so thankful for the many supporters of Dan and Elizabeth Turk’s ministry in Madagascar. In response to God’s command to steward and care for the earth that God declared good, Dan is leading remarkable work focused on biological diversity, caring for creation, food security issues and other agricultural programs that express the grace and goodness of our Lord. Thank you for helping to make this work possible.

Update from Daniel Turk on the Fruit, Vegetable, and Environmental Education (FVEE) Project

During 2017 the Fruit, Vegetable, and Environmental Education (FVEE) project of Madagascar’s largest Protestant church, the Fiangonan’i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara (FJKM), established a fruit center at Mahatsinjo; continued training in fruit growing, gardening, and environmental education at three FJKM seminaries; and began a new collaboration with the FJKM schools. The following gives details of how the project is making an impact on various groups of people in many locations in Madagascar.

Fruit Center at Mahatsinjo
The multipurpose building at the fruit center at Mahatsinjo was completed and dedicated in May 2017. It is located 120 miles from Antananarivo. A tree nursery was started and orchard trees were planted in January. By the end of 2017 the nursery was completed, although some infrastructure still needs to be finished. Over 270 fruit trees were planted including mangos, avocado, litchi, citrus, and breadfruit. The mango varieties include many of the world’s best commercial mangos such as Tommy Atkins and Keitt from Florida, Alphonso and Neelum from India, and Kensington from Australia. In December stakes were placed for planting 10 more varieties of mangos as well as an alley of native palms and a citrus orchard of about 50 tangerine and lemon trees.

Grafting began in 2017. Species grafted include citrus, mango, canistel, and tamarind. In October two wells were successfully dug, this time at lower elevation than the two failed wells dug in 2016 that hit bedrock. In the second half of 2017 a feasibility study was done for installing a gravity fed water system at Mahatsinjo to irrigate the tree nursery and orchards, as well as get drinking water to the center and the nearby village of Ambararata. Construction began on this water system in December and the new system is scheduled to be completed in February 2018.

The area around the multipurpose building was landscaped with native trees and shrubs including six endemic Malagasy palms and Tahina spectabilis, considered one of the world’s 100 most endangered species. Other vegetation planted includes a collection of about ten of the world’s best clumping bamboos. A small area was planted with perennial peanut, which was later expanded. By the end of the year two people were working at the center – Odilon Ravelonjanahary, who lives at the center with his family, and a local technician who lives at the FJKM church at Mahatsinjo. Both are nursery technicians.

Outreach activities in the Mahatsinjo area began in 2017 at the Mahatsinjo FJKM church where fruit trees, muscadine vines, native palms, other native trees and shrubs, and perennial peanut were planted. Native trees and fruit trees were also planted at the public high school within sight of the fruit center.

Training at FJKM Seminaries
Training continued at three FJKM seminaries. The FJKM requested similar training for the newly-established seminary at Ambatondrazaka. The director of the seminary asked that the project plant trees on the seminary grounds and bring perennial peanut to plant, as well. Students from Ivato, Fianarantsoa, and Mandritsara seminaries went on field trips in 2017 to Andasibe, the tea plantation near Fianarantsoa, and Atsiatsiaka, a remote piece of land owned by the FJKM just west of the eastern rainforest to the east of Mandritsara.

New Initiative with FJKM Schools
A new initiative with the FJKM schools began in 2017. The FVEE project was introduced to the principals of the approximately 600 FJKM schools at an annual meeting in August. Principals from each of the 37 FJKM school districts planted a tree at the Ambatomanga school. Another training was held in October for the heads of each school district. At that meeting it was decided that the FVEE would provide trees for planting at a pilot school from each school district. The national director of the FJKM schools, Ms. Domoina Rakotondranaivo, added two more schools for a total of 39. One of the additional schools is the school next to the new FJKM seminary at Ambatondrazaka and the other is the David Jones High School in Toamasina where the FJKM will inaugurate a new building in August as part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first London Missionary Society (LMS) missionaries. The project will provide at least 15 trees for each school as well as technical input. The project will also provide training to the national leadership of the FJKM schools so that they can help with follow-up when they visit schools where trees have been planted and potentially take trees to some of the schools. It will likely take at least two years to get trees planted at all of the schools. Trees were planted at the first three schools (Maevatanana, Port Bergé, and Mandritsara) in December.

FJKM Tree Planting Project Impact
The FVEE project had a major coordinating role for FJKM’s annual tree planting events. The first was held at Fihaonana where 4,000 fast-growing trees were planted, mostly eucalyptus; the second was at Mahereza where 12,000 fast-growing trees (mostly pine, eucalyptus and acacia) were planted on church property.

Visit to Antanetibe
In June at the request of the local SAF director, Philémon Andriamanalina, FVEE project personnel visited Antanetibe where they had helped about 70 families grow tangerine trees beginning in 2010. The trees were in fruit and people were marketing tangerines in nearby Ankazobe. Many people in Antanetibe have good prospects for getting out of poverty by growing tangerines.

Other Trainings
A training in fruit propagation techniques for eight FJKM nursery personnel was held at the fruit center at Mahatsinjo in September.  Rolland Razafiarison and Germain Andrianaivoson were the trainers. A training was held in August on growing vegetables and fruit trees for 72 people representing 20 parishes in the FJKM synod of Atsimon’iarivo Miray. As part of this training, fruit trees and native trees were planted at the church and FJKM school at Alatsinainy Bakaro.

Prospectives for 2018
In 2018, the FVEE project will continue to develop the Mahatsinjo fruit center. An irrigation system will be finalized, over 100 trees will be planted, trainings with church groups will begin, and progress will be made in the propagation of fruit trees, especially mangos. In addition, outreach activities in the community will be expanded to include tree plantings at the commune offices and the public primary school at Andalamahitsy. The fruit center is expected to be officially inaugurated in March 2018.

Training in environmental issues and growing fruits and vegetables will continue at the Ivato, Fianarantsoa and Mandritsara seminaries and will begin at the new Ambatondrazaka seminary. In addition, fruit trees and native trees will be planted at Ambatondrazaka.

For the new initiative with FJKM schools at least 15 trees, including native palms and fruit trees, will be planted near at least two-thirds of the 39 pilot schools. A one-day training will be held for the FJKM schools’ national leadership. Group trainings for non-pilot schools where a few trees will be provided for each school will take place in at least three locations: Alatsinainy Bakaro, Faratsiho, and Fenerive Est.

The FVEE project will continue to act as a consultant to other parts of the FJKM in the areas of tree growing, vegetable gardening, and environmental education. In 2018 the FVEE project is expected to participate in planting trees around the buildings under construction as part of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the FJKM and 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries. The project will provide potted trees for various FJKM events such as the national worship service held in a large open-air venue in the capital as well as other events. The FVEE has been asked to help with the implementation of a recently-awarded Church World Mission (CWM) grant for projects at Tsihombe in far South Madagascar as well as at Fihaonana. A new collaboration with the FJKM Evangelism Department will start with trees planted around ten churches led by FJKM evangelist pastors. These churches are all in the area west of Antsirabe toward Morondava.

Your partnership with us and your support over the years is appreciated.

Daniel Turk

Read more about the Turk's ministry HERE.

The Outreach Foundation is seeking $10,000 for support funds for Dan and Elizabeth Turk.