Blantyre fruit growers horn skills in grafting

Blantyre: Fruittreegrowersin Blantyre have been equipped with grafting techniques in an attempt to meaningfully transform their general livelihoods, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.

Senior Anti-Charcoal law enforcing for the South Zone Forestry Office, Irate Mlonda said the Department engaged farmers in a fruit grafting exercise at Mpapa Village in Traditional Authority (TA) Somba in Blantyre as one way of averting wanton cutting down of trees for charcoal production.

He told Mana on Friday that the ongoing rampant charcoal processing in the area has drastically led to the environmental degradation at an alarming rate.

The Officer observed that grafted fruits such as mangoes, avocado pears, peaches, granadillas and citrus fruits commonly grown in the area are beneficial and sustainable for they also make manure within a very short period of time.

Our main objective is to equip both subsistence and agro-based farmers with alternative environmental-friendly tips to economically empower themselves, Mlonda said.

It is through such tips and techniques that they are further instilled in managing grafted fruit trees which must be stored in a tidy and well ventilated environment to ensure maximum germination rate prior to transplanting into designated orchards, he added.

The Senior Anti-charcoal law enforcing officer disclosed that the South Zone Forestry Office is working tirelessly to address land and environmental degradation malpractices in the district and the entire southern region.

Mlonda observed that apart from bringing to book all charcoal producers; the regional office felt it fit and proper to hastily identify sustainable means for communities to become economically independent.

He emphasized that the forestry zone complements the ongoing ‘Adapt Plan Project’ initiative which attempts to equipping farmers and fruit growers with alternative ways of improving their general livelihoods other than depending on natural resources.

One of the successful orchard owners in the area, Sakina Minikwa appealed to her fellow fruit growers to adopt fruit grafting skills for high production rate and more handsome profits.

She said the techniques which she has acquired have empowered her not to revert to the primitive charcoal production and selling malpractices that have led to the depletion of both artificial and indigenous fruit trees in her area.

Group Village Head Muleso advised her subjects and surrounding communities to fully invest their resources, potential and time in fruit grafting if they were to win the battle against effects of climate change in the district.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA