MURORO, 25 OCT – People are not willing to participate in fruit tree planting even when they have water sources nearby and enough land to grow fruit.
Chief Forestry Official for the Kavango regions in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Niipale highlighted this as one of the challenges the directorate faces when it comes to fruit tree planting.
He was speaking during the two-day training on Sustainable Fruit Tree Production which started at Green Paradise Orchard at Muroro village in the Kavango East Region on Wednesday.
Niipale said although there are opportunities in growing fruit trees such as earning an income, the Directorate of Forestry also faces many other challenges.
The training was initiated by the Communal Land Development Project (CLDP) under the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The event constitutes part of a training series promoting diversification and aimed at increased production of fruit, vegetables, poultry and other agricultural production in the country.
The training is also aiming at improving food availability and nutrition at the household level in the communal areas.
“People are not willing to participate in fruit tree planting even when they have water and enough land; they are just not interested,” Niipale said.
People could be discouraged by the fact that fruit trees bear fruit from three to six years, he added, meaning it is a very long period before payback is realised.
Another challenge is that trees need a lot of water, thus orchards or gardens need to be close to an area that has water readily available as they require frequent watering.
“Water is also expensive and this discourages communities from growing fruit trees,” he explained.
Niipale advised interested individuals to create their orchards close to areas where there is free water such as ponds or dams and the river.
On his part, CLDP Lead Field Advisor Oliver Manungo encouraged the participants to establish fruit gardens, saying they will leave wealth for their great-grandchildren.
He gave examples of orange trees that will still be there in 20 to 25 years, while mango trees can live up to 500 years.
Close to 90 participants, mostly farmers, are taking part in the training which ends on Thursday.