3rd December 2012:
It is now just four years since we brought root stock and scion wood from Irish Seed Savers in Scarriff, Co Clare (to whom we are most appreciative) to plant on our farm in Lusangazi.
Looks like the crop this year is excellent, especially with all the naysayers telling us that apples just don’t grow in Malawi.
Apples can be bought in Mzuzu but they are from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia and three apples cost what a day-worker might earn for one day’s labour.
Needless to say we are delighted and now have about 9 varieties of apples at various stages of development and will begin distribution, of some of them, free to the farmers and women’s groups we work with after Christmas.
To expand this programme, and get scale, we are getting farmers to locate and grow local rootstock (which have just tiny fruit) and then teach them to bud-on the improved varieties which we will be able to supply. Our people can do this as they have been trained and are only too delighted to show off their skills. The farmers can come to Lusangazi to learn and stay in our hostel, again free of charge. We can also travel to the remote villages.
It’s not rocket science, of course, just a matter of joining a few dots. Malawians just need a little jump start and they are more than capable of producing more fruit than they can eat.
Join a few dots yourself to find out where the problem lies.