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Fruit Provides Sweet Future- Fruit Trees Provide Business Opportunities for Farmers in Tanzania

Thanks to the Tanzania Tree Crops program, farmer Lenet Moto is financially secure, and using her success to provide jobs and opportunity for others

A 42-year-old mother of four, Lenet Moto is a rural farmer who lives in a small village in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands. Like most people in the village, Lenet used to make her living by growing corn and beans for household consumption, and selling potatoes at the local market. She also sold milk from her two dairy cows and traded used clothing. In a good year, Lenet earned $400.

In January 2006, EnterpriseWorks/VITA (EWV), in partnership with Associates in Rural Development (ARD), began implementing the USAID-funded Tree Crop Activity in Tanzania. The project supported farmers in the region by helping them grow high-value fruits including apple, pear, peach and avocado, which are particularly well-suited to the region. Interested in ways to increase her income, Lenet eagerly learned about growing fruit trees. As part of a comprehensive training course in nursery and orchard establishment, she learned to propagate, graft, prune and plant improved fruit tree seedlings. Equally important, Lenet and her fellow farmers learned about marketing their produce in order to maximize profit from their fruit production. In 2007, Lenet’s hard work paid off. While she earned $340 by growing potatoes — a very good year by local standards —the sale of fruit tree seedlings from Lenet’s nursery business earned her an additional $430. And, while most of the fruit trees in her orchard are still immature, Lenet earned an additional $100 from fruit sales.

“This is wonderful! My income has more than doubled, and this is only the beginning. This year I plan to plant an additional 600 fruit trees — mostly avocado and apple. And I will increase sales from my nursery. Within two or three years I expect to be making $1,000 per year. Five years ago, I never could have imagined this would be possible,” Lenet said, reflecting on her success. Being that fruit trees take 4-5 years from the time they are planted to begin to bear significant quantities of fruit, EWV expects that the income generated from Lenet’s nursery and orchard will far exceed $1000 per year as the trees continue to mature and production of fruit increases with each year.

Now, Lenet has almost three acres of planted fruit trees and, in the coming year, she plans to expand. In order to manage her growing nursery and orchard, Lenet employs seasonal
labor from the village — creating job opportunities and increasing incomes.