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Grow Apples, Mint Money!

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Quick facts

  • The Egyptians were the first people to grow apples. The apple was introduced in England by the Romans over 2000 years ago.
  • There is an old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples are an excellent source of minerals, vitamin A and C. Raw apples are good for your teeth and gums. 85% of an apple is made up of water so they are a very refreshing snack.
  • One apple tree can produce up to 200 fruits a year. In a garden, an apple tree can live for up to 100 years. More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States, but only the crabapple is native to North America.
  • Apples also ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated. The top apple producers around the world are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy. Apples account for 50% of international deciduous fruit tree production.

What can one acre do?

Even land as small as one acre can bring big returns if used to grow apples commercially. On one acre, one can plant up to 350 apple trees at a spacing of four by four or three by five meters apart.

After one year, you can have 50 fruits per tree in every harvest. At a farm gate price of sh500 per fruit, you should earn about sh25,000 per tree, which translates into sh8.75m in your first harvest. Since you have two harvests in a year, you should earn an annual lump sum of sh17.5m.

By the end of ten years, every tree should have given you 1,000 fruits.

Bitter rot disease

Bitter rot occurs only on fruit. Cankers can form on twigs, but they are rare. The fungus is one of the few fruit rot organisms that can penetrate the unbroken skin of the fruit. The disease first appears as a small, light-brown, circular spot. One or many spots might appear; if temperatures are high, they enlarge quite rapidly and soon change to a dark brown. By the time the spots are 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter, they are distinctly sunken or saucer shaped. When they reach 1/2 inch in diameter, small, black dots–the fruiting bodies of the fungus – appear in the sunken lesion. These might be arranged in concentric rings. Later, they ooze a gelatinous, salmon-pink mass of spores, which is washed by rains onto other fruit. Beneath the surface of the spot, the flesh is light brown and watery in a cone-shaped area, with the small end of the cone toward the fruit center. As the fruit ripens, it decays rapidly and finally shrivels into a mummy.

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