By Rosemary Tukundane
Masiko Peter has changed the common song of “apples can only grow in Europe.”
He is farming apples in Munyonyi village, Kabale district in southwestern Uganda.
‘’Countries like Uganda had no chance of growing apples but because of the government’s help through NARO, seedlings and crops varieties that grow in the countries have been developed and more and more farmers have proved to do the apple farming commercially in districts of Kabale, Bushenyi, Kampala, Kasese, Mukono, fort portal and more other,’’ Masiko said
Masiko added that he has been growing apples for years and the crop takes three years to develop mature fruits and a tree if well managed and taken care of can make 100-200 fruits selling each fruit at shs500 to local women and supermarkets.
He added that apple farming has two seasons of February and July, meaning that a farmer has chance of making more than ten million profit every year but one has to remember that because the crop takes long to mature, mixed farming can help to earn more income in this field.
‘’Apples are planted in a nursery bed for two months, grafted and then transplanted to the main garden for fruiting, grafting is done to the crop in order to make it grow strong and bear more crunchy fruits,’’ he added
Spacing of Apples
- Apple trees require spacing from each tree of 5 by 5 feet because trees have to get enough space for expansion of branches and bearing of more and big fruits.
- With proper spacing an acre can accommodate 40 trees.
Apple varieties grown in Uganda
Although Anna and Rosette are the common varieties grown in most parts of the country, Bramley is also a preferred variety in Uganda.
Anna and Rosset in red color keep crunchy, juicy during a lot of heat and color up well despite the hot nights.
- They are disease resistant
Bramley type is from England and is vigorous, bears fruits annually with an attractive green color.
Favorable climate conditions to consider when growing Apples
‘’Different apple varieties grow under different climate conditions, not every apple variety grows every or any way and each has specific number conditions for fruit maturity, ‘’ Masiko said
- Well drained soils, nothing wet, apples don’t do well in wetlands.
- For best fruiting, apple trees need full sunlight.
- Seedlings should be planted 5 by 5 feet apart when it comes to spacing.
Masiko added that management and care from planting to harvesting is the hardest task , it needs watering all the time, fertilizers with cow dung, poultry dropping or any other manure and applying of pesticides to the spot affected by diseases like scurb and Powderly.