Project Launch: 2-25-16
Working with a local agricultural and environmental cooperative, this project will construct an organic fruit orchard on an old maize field to promote crop diversification, environmental stewardship, and organic farming practices. Due to the harmful effects of having only been used to grow maize, the field is currently dormant and the soil cannot support any further growth, hindering agricultural productivity and food security for the community. However, by harvesting fruits, the community will be able to rehabilitate the nutrient-poor soil, as well as sell nutritious produce locally. A majority of the revenue from fruit sales will be reinvested into specific community-led reforestation and conservation projects, such as building a wildlife corridor and boosting ecotourism in the area.
Progress Update: 5/16/16
With assistance from the local youth group, the cooperative planted 250 orange trees and 250 strawberry plants. Around the perimeter of the orchard, the group planted Jatropha trees, which act as a natural herbicide and protect against wildfires. Additionally, Jatropha seed pods can be used as an alternative source of fuel. To increase the fertility of the soil, the cooperative used manure and planted 200 Musangu trees, which add nitrogen back into the soil. The cooperative waters the orchard on a regular basis and is excitingly awaiting their first harvest.
"The strawberries and oranges will help us start a business so we can sell to the stores in town. Now we will have an opportunity to help our families and pay for the uniforms and school fees our kids need." - Philemon, Project Participant
"We will finally have oranges. Only well off families can sometimes afford to give their children a bun roll with butter and an apple or orange for Christmas. We will have enough orange trees now to make money and give our children oranges!" - Amaik, Project Participant