Growing fruit for local markets
Enterprise Orchards is an initiative that focuses on high-density orchard culture in communities to grow for local markets. It progresses our best community educators and natural farmers to create high density orchards in townships, peri-urban and rural areas.
Due to the nature of orchard culture projects generally run over 4-5 years, making it a great strategic initiative to add to your Enterprise / Supplier Development portfolio.
It is often combined with growing herbs as short-term cash crops.
About the Intervention
An intervention takes place over 4-5 years but is not as intense as vegetable or livestock production. We will usually work with farmers already on our database. If you are looking to implement a project outside of this, we will ask that we start with a baseline assessment.
Rather than plant a single species or variety, we encourage our orchard farmers to diversify their crops and varieties so that they can be harvesting throughout the year for consistent cash flow.
The intervention provides orchard culture training, trees and planting resources as well as required infrastructure. If your ESD budget is limited then we can link you to one of our grouped projects.
What is High-Density Orchard Culture?
High density orchard culture (HDOC) is a method of planting fruit and nut trees which does not require commercial equipment and greatly suits the principles of bio-intensive agriculture. Unlike traditional orchard culture which has its roots in monoculture and can be heavy on the environment, FTFA’s brand of HDOC employs the following principles:
- Planting far more trees in a given area (compared to traditional orchard culture) and keeping those trees small and more productive through pruning.
- Planting multiple species including multiple combinations of stone fruit, pome fruit, citrus and nut trees so that farmers do not put “all their eggs in one basket”.
- Planting multiple varieties of each kind of fruit so that harvesting is consistent throughout the season. Eg. Early, mid and late peaches all planted in the same orchard. This allows for sustainable cropping throughout the season.
- This initiative requires that beneficiaries have a large tract of land to start.
- We use bio-intensive agriculture techniques.
- Projects often require land to be fenced and water infrastructure to be installed.
- We encourage both fruit and nut trees.
- Intervention includes both technical and business skills.
- Requires an assessment.