In Malawi, the Makoka Research Station, part of the government's Agricultural Research Department, is encouraging farmers to plant certain trees for commercial benefit and it is helping to increase the market value for commercial forest fruit products.
Commercial Fruit Forests in Malawi Zomba Malawi Correspondent: Once the Zomba Plateau looked out across indigenous Miombo woodland what’s left is shrinking faster than any other deforestation in Southern Africa. Now an Agroforestry project run by the research institute of Malawi and backed by Britain’s department for international development encourages farmers to grow wild fruit trees to boost nutrition and their incomes. 3% of Malawi’s Miombo woodland is cut down every year Made in Miombo Correspondent: For as long as anyone can remember the forest has been natural larger with over 50 species of edible fruit picked and sold at the roadside. For the first time farmer’s are being encouraged to plant trees and make more money. Over 170 Miombo fruits are edible 50 are valued highly Gerald Meke (Research Institute of Malawi): With farmer’s if they see a fruit tree which is producing good forest they would breathe it this is the first time when trying planting. Correspondent: To make sure farmers plant trees systematically research is aimed to increase their market value by coming up with new forest products. John Saka (Research Institute of Malawi): Here we have what juice this is the most important fruit and it is priority number one. This is the fruit on indigenous food you find widely on the markets. This one is for commercialization. Correspondent: In packages could even find a place in the drinks cabinet. John Saka: And mostly people seem to like that alcoholic nature. Correspondent: Women at the Magamero processing enterprise already process fruit on a commercial scale. Now that they are being encouraged to—that product range. Many species of good source is iron zinc and vitamin A and they’re naturally drought resistant. Lucy Matopa (Magamero Processing Enterprise): When the farmers start growing the mana-there’ll be a lot of fruit because we can dry them. The fruits will be available out of season that means demand will be high and supply will be low so the price will be higher and we can have a higher income. Correspondent: Local farms have taken to the idea with enthusiasm. Nelson Joloweni: I think there’s a good market for them because they’re rare fruit if you go into the forest looking for them they had to find so if you can grow them. They are highly thought after. Correspondent: Many farmers have started nurseries for young trees. Alfred Kamphe: The idea behind this nursery is for people to front fruit trees around their homesteads and these tree should start quickly otherwise we have to wait too long. We have recently planted the trees so no fruit yet but we don’t think we have enough and want to plant more. Uapaca seedlings take about 10years to begin bearing fruit. Correspondent: At first farmers were put off by the long time like before fruits appear now a solution has been found, grafting. Alfred Kamphe: We are doing grafting ourselves some people came from the research station to show us how and now we do it on our own. Correspondent: Macoco research station is where much of the work is being done and its from here that the sides are being put into the hands of the farmers. Thompson Chilanga (Internatoianl Centre fro Research in Agroforestry): The farmers actually want something which he will start to producing fruits within the short period of time. Correspondent: Grafting is the technique of carefully attaching a branch from that mature fruiting tree to a young sapling. Dramatically reducing the amount of time the young plant takes to produce fruit. Different techniques are being tested on this wedge graft seems to work best on Apaca allowing the tree to produce frit within just 3 years. Thompson Chilanga (Internatoianl Centre fro Research in Agroforestry): When training the farmers by teaching them to do the grafting and the farmers are really enthusiastic they’re actually doing the grafting on their own. Male: One oft the advantages is that by growing Miombo fruits we are trying to conserve some of the tree species which are becoming extinct, if we don’t the younger generation will never know about them.