Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - March 2019 Update

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Note from The Outreach Foundation

Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world with over 90% of the population living in poverty. It has one of the highest rates of child stunting (impaired growth and development due to poor nutrition, etc.) in the world.

The FJKM (Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar), the largest protestant church in Madagascar, feels strongly that the church’s ministry is to both share the Gospel and to help people meet their physical needs. Recognizing that fruit trees offer a way out of poverty, mission co-worker Dan Turk has been working for over 15 years with the FJKM, with help from The Outreach Foundation, to bring in some of the world’s best fruit tree varieties including over 60 varieties of mangos.

Dan has helped the FJKM develop fruit tree production and extension work that is on the cutting edge for the country. There is no other entity in Madagascar that has as many different varieties of fruit trees and that is dedicated to doing extension work with low-income farmers. The FJKM project that coordinates this work is the Fruits, Vegetables, and Environmental Education Project (FVEE). Dan serves as the coordinator and technical advisor. In 2017 the FVEE established the FJKM Fruit Tree Center at Mahatsinjo, four hours northwest of the capital.

Elizabeth is tirelessly working with the FJKM in HIV/AIDS Prevention. News on this program was included in our December update for the Turks. We will continue to keep you posted.

Recent News from the FJKM Fruit Program
Since Elizabeth and I got back to Madagascar from the U.S. in August 2018, there has been much progress with the FVEE.

New Fruit Trees from Florida
In August I brought more than 500 fruit trees in my luggage from Florida, along with all needed paperwork from both the U.S. and Malagasy authorities. In accordance with regulations here, they spent over two months in quarantine before getting out in late October. We had good survival for the most part. Among the most exciting are over 30 new varieties of mangos, including classic Florida varieties like Irwin, Dot, and Edward; many newer varieties such as Fruit Punch, Phoenix, Orange Sherbet, and Sweet Tart; and some exceptional varieties from elsewhere in the world such as Ataulfo, Cac, and Maha Chanook. Others that survived quarantine include Mammea americana, white, Grimal, and yellow Jaboticabas, a red-fleshed durian, 130 mamey sapote rootstocks, and some sapodillas. The mangos are currently being propagated; a few have already been planted out at the fruit center at Mahatsinjo.

Progress in Grafting
In December a graduate student, Ranaivo Arson Rindra, successfully defended her master’s thesis entitled “Trials of Grafting Techniques of Mango Trees – Mahatsinjo Fruit Center.” Rindra helped us develop several grafting techniques that resulted in getting about 200 grafted mango trees last year. Since December we have grafted over 1,000 mango seedlings, mostly at the fruit center. We should end up grafting about 1,500 seedlings and hopefully will get at least 600 grafted trees for our efforts. We are mostly doing cleft and veneer grafts but also some approach grafts especially on the newly arrived trees. The newly grafted trees should be enough to enable us to plant mother trees at new nurseries at Ankaramena in south central Madagascar and at the FJKM seminary in north central Madagascar.

In late 2019 my colleagues and I will begin training farmers and church members near the fruit center at Mahatsinjo on how to plant, take care of, and graft mango trees. Each participant will receive a grafted mango tree to plant on his/her land. We expect to do five trainings with 25 trainees each for a total of 125 trainees.

Continued Training at FJKM Seminaries
The training of seminary students in fruit trees, vegetable-growing, and environmental education is continuing at the four FJKM seminaries. Ivato seminary students recently practiced grafting techniques and planted trees to celebrate environment day.

Recovery from Theft at the Mahatsinjo Fruit Center
In early January thieves stole about 300 trees from the nursery at the fruit center at Mahatsinjo. Fortunately, most were citrus and not precious grafted mangos. In the wake of this, we installed lights at the nursery and have made plans to put a fence up that will enclose both the nursery and the main building.

In 2019 steps are being made to set up two new mango nurseries and orchards: one at the site of the FJKM church at Ankaramena along National Road #7 in south central Madagascar and the other on the grounds of the FJKM seminary at Mandritsara in north central Madagascar. At each of these nurseries, security needs to be established, water needs to be secured, mother trees need to be planted and personnel trained. At Ankaramena this will mean putting up a wall all the way around the church property then helping the church to build a manse so as to enable the pastor to live on-site. At Mandritsara, the water system needs to be repaired so that the seminary can get water on campus. This water system will provide water for the seminary students and staff and their families as well as for the mango nursery and orchard.

Trees Planted at FJKM Schools and Churches
The planting trees program at FJKM schools is continuing and a new program to plant trees at up to 50 FJKM churches per year has begun.

How You Can Help
Please pray that activities go well, for safety at the fruit tree center and with all travels, and for funds to be able to do all of the activities.

Grateful for your partnership,
Dan Turk

Read more about the Turk’s ministry HERE.

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