Plant fruit trees to improve nutrition and generate income

FRUIT TREE PLANTING IN MALAWI, AFRICA

We are helping 50 community groups in Nkhata Bay District, Malawi grow  lemon, orange, mango, guava, papaya, tangerine and avocado trees. In 2022, these community groups raised and planted out 75,000 fruit trees. They will not only benefit from the fruit to eat but will be able to sell any surplus and raise an income. 21 schools and 3 health clinics are also benefitting from the project.

A little girl is checked for malnutrition in a clinic in Malawi

Problems

  • Rapid population growth and large families
  • Poor diets and significant levels of malnutrition
  • Low availability of fruit in local markets
  • High levels of poverty with few opportunities to generate additional income

solutions

  • Provide community tree planting clubs with fruit tree seeds
  • Educate them on setting up tree nurseries and caring for their seedlings
  • Teach them how to plant the fruit trees out and care for them
  • Support clubs to provide schools and vulnerable families with seedlings
  • Ongoing support to ensure high yields from the fruit trees planted out
COMMUNITY FRUIT TREE CLUBS
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FRUIT TREES GROWN BY EACH CLUB
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SCHOOLS PLANTING FRUIT TREES
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Fruit tree planting in Malawi, Africa

Achievements and Future Plans

We support 50 community tree planting clubs and are working with 21 schools and three health clinics to educate teachers, students and health workers about the importance of fruit to improve health and how to care for their fruit trees.

We will continue to support the existing community groups and expand the number of clubs and schools in this project as funds allow.

How We Work

We work with the community and local authorities to identify community groups that want to grow fruit trees. We support each club with seeds and plastic tubes in which to plant them, and we teach them how to care for and prune their seedlings, how to make natural fertiliser and how to protect their seedlings from livestock once they are planted out. 

fURTHER INFORMATION

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Ripple Africa started its fruit tree project in 2007.   While some fruit trees grow naturally in Africa, trees are often poorly managed, and some fruit trees suffer from viruses which mean they do not produce fruit.  Ripple Africa has therefore introduced a budding and grafting programme at its tree nursery at Mwaya to develop improved varieties of fruit trees which:

  • produce a greater crop yield
  • have a stronger resistance to viruses
  • are of a much better quality

Any kind of tree planting project is hugely important to the environment in Malawi; however, fruit tree planting in particular creates a natural incentive for people to protect their trees as a fruit tree provides both food and income.

Ripple Africa’s fruit tree planting project is also an important way of improving nutrition. In Malawi, malnutrition is a major cause of death among children, and poor diet can lead to general ill health and disease. Many people in Malawi go hungry and survive only on a staple carbohydrate called nsima (a porridge made from either maize or cassava), severely lacking many of the important vitamins and minerals which fruit can provide. Free access to a variety of fruits at household level improves the health of vulnerable rural families.

Lastly, because Ripple Africa’s improved fruit tree project produces fruit of a higher quality, fruit from one of Ripple Africa’s fruit trees is highly competitive at market, especially some varieties such as oranges and tangerines which are rarely grown in the area. The value of access to a sustainable income stream for a poor rural family cannot be underestimated!

We manage a specialist community fruit tree nursery and we have helped community groups and schools to plant thousands of improved fruit trees including mango, orange and papaya.

We currently support 100 community tree planting clubs and are working with 21 schools and three health clinics to educate teachers, students and health workers about the importance of fruit to improve health and how to care for their fruit trees.

We support community groups to grow fruit trees and ensure high yields .  Each group is given seeds and plastic tubes in which to plant them and once the seeds have been sown, Ripple Africa supports the clubs and we teach them how to care for and prune their seedlings, how to make natural fertiliser and how to protect their seedlings from livestock once they are planted out. Clubs grow approximately 1,500 trees each year and these are then distributed among the members to plant out on available land.

The clubs decided that they also wanted to gift some trees to vulnerable families in their village, such as the elderly and families with members with disabilities, and to local schools.  Ripple Africa supports this initiative by providing transport to deliver seedlings and by running practical training sessions in schools on the importance of tree planting and the environment.  Our staff also help the vulnerable families to learn how to care for their trees.

To improve their quality, some species of fruit trees are grown from infancy in Ripple Africa’s special fruit tree nursery at Mwaya so that Ripple Africa staff can manage the delicate budding and grafting process. This requires specialist knowledge, and we have trained local people to take on this role. From there, improved fruit trees:

  • are planted in Ripple Africa’s improved fruit tree orchards at Mwaya.
  • are given to the community tree planting clubs and Ripple Africa help these to grow, plant, and look after their fruit trees.
  • are given to farmers and their families as part of Ripple Africa’s Tree Planting project.

We will continue to support the existing community groups and schools care for their fruit  trees well to ensure high yields.

We will expand the number of clubs and schools in this project as funds allow.

This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals: