Apple Orchards and Farmers Practices in Their Management in Mt. Elgon Subzone of Eastern Uganda

Eneku Adima Gordon, Wilberforce Wodada, Arthur Wasukira


Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) is one of the most popular fruits in world priced for its diverse uses, high dietary content and health benefits. Naturally adapted to cold conditions, apples require substantial hours of coldness or at least climatic conditions simulating cold conditions to be productive. In Uganda, apples were introduced in 2009 at experimental sites in western highlands of Kabale with scale up to Mt. Elgon region in the eastern part of the country in 2004. Since the introduction of apples in the Mt. Elgon zone, there has been no effort to document the performance in terms of growth, yield and even number of orchards, varieties as well as number of plants. A survey targeting all the apple orchards was conducted in June 2013 in eight districts of Mt. Elgon area to establish the status of apple growing and document the practices, challenges and opportunities for apple production in the zone. A total of 26 apple orchards comprising 1312 apple plants spread across 14 varieties were documented. Major orchard management practices included weeding, spraying and manure application. The main sources of planting material was from western Uganda although some farmers accessed materials from Kenya. Farmer’s major constraints to apple growing included lack of technical knowledge, pest and diseases and limited access to clean planting materials. Opportunities such as cold condition on the highlands and available market for apples provide high potential for apple growing in the sub-zone. However, there is need to build the capacity of farmers and develop sustainable source of clean apple planting materials to increase adoption and enhance production of the apples in the zone.

Keywords: Apple, Orchard management, Farmer practices, Mt.Elgon, Uganda

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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