Selection Two

When I described earlier the development of the quinine gardens, I described the tree selection processes. I would like to provide some more detail about how to estimate the value of a tree, and compare its value to the trees around it. In order words, what is the true value of a new graft?

The farmer will note that some trees look stronger than others. Maybe it has better branches, a stump that is straighter. Maybe there are other characteristics that make one tree stand out amidst a number of other trees. Or maybe, the perspective of the harvest may throw attention to a thicker bark. Maybe the nature of the grounds, if there is a slope, a particular good water circumstance, that draws the attention. In the olden days people didn’t believe that a certain tree was better than another. We now have conclusive evidence that this is the case. People used to think that the location was the only factor determining the value of a tree. For that purpose trees would be dug up, ground and all and put in a new position to compare the results. Those comparisons proved the interior constellation of a tree a key factor. Of course, they could have looked at their children and come to the same conclusion.

From the seedlings which need to be researched, grafts are developed. When a sufficient number is available, these can be compared to each other. This used to be in plots of land of 20 by 20 meter, next to each other, making the grafts and the harvest easily comparable by weighing and analysing the produce.

The next process tried out would be to put the plots of land in the pattern of a board of checkers. This would enable the comparisons with different types of trees on different types of land and slope. The problem with this approach is that it required a lot of land, and that the plots were not easily comparable in mountain regions.

Dr M Kerbosch developed the hollow pipe approach. In order to avoid the impact of the soil on the trees a long line of seedlings was planted, enabling easy comparison. This had an impact on plantations in Java and Sumatra.

The development of the quinine culture looks like this: in the early 1820s all production came from Latin America. It totalled 14.000 kilo. By the 1890s production had increased to 90.000 kilo due to organised growth and development. By 1913 this had increased thanks to the Ledgeriana Moens varieties to 500.000 kilos. This increased further to 800.000 kilo quinine coming from 12.000.000 kilo bark. This means on average 6.5%. These 12 million kilo bark came from 130 plantations totalling 20.000 hectares. The Government Quinine plantation Tjinjiroean grew 10% of total world production in those days. Indonesia delivered 90% of all quinine on the globe.

And when I think back to my Indonesian friends, with whom I talked on that plateau near the South Coast, then I believe that I can decide and conclude with confidence that the quinine culture won’t be impacted by the destructive powers of his tidal wave. I believe that small Netherlands has done something great with this quinine culture; something great for Indonesia, for the world and possibly also for himself. I thank you for your attention.