The goal of the Fruiting Africa project, funded by EC/IFAD, is to increase wealth and health of poor farming communities in Kenya and Mali through enhanced cultivation, processing, marketing and consumption of a diversity of fruits. The project also aims at contributing to the transition of small-scale farming systems from subsistence farming to intensified semi-commercial farming of fruit trees and of small-scale private or community tree nurseries and microprocessors to more business-oriented and profitable enterprises. The target group of the project are small-scale farmers and nursery managers that will benefit from the participatory action research conducted by ICRAF. Beneficiaries will have better access to quality tree planting material of improved fruit varieties via decentralized community-managed fruit tree nurseries. Capacities of beneficiaries regarding fruit tree propagation, on-farm fruit tree management and marketing will be developed. Fruit processor groups, particularly of women, will benefit from training on improved, nutrient-maintaining fruit processing and value adding techniques as well as on business and group formation skills. In addition, urban and rural consumers will benefit by improved knowledge on healthy, diverse diets and the nutritional value of fruits.
The project has the following objectives:
- Develop and disseminate impact-oriented interventions and site-specific nutrient-sensitive fruit tree portfolios (sets of different fruit species with successive harvest seasons for year-round supply of fresh fruits) to be integrated on farms. Part of this component is to develop a database on the nutritive value of different fruit species and cultivars.
- Provide farmers with access to high quality fruit tree planting material through sustainable, decentralised seedling supply systems (the 'Rural Resource Centre' model).
- Increase and disseminate knowledge on improved fruit tree propagation and on-farm tree management techniques.
- Develop and disseminate nutrient-retaining fruit processing technologies and build capacities of fruit producers and micro-processors on marketing and business skills.
- Increase awareness on the health benefits of regular fruit consumption of rural and urban households, particularly of children and their mothers.