Apples are hard to come by in Ethiopia. Due to the dry conditions and limited water supply, not many people grow them. Most of the time, they tend to be imported from South Africa and are extremely expensive. For example, 1kg of apples costs well in excess of an average day's pay.
However, with the support of the innocent foundation, International Development Enterprises (IDE-UK) are helping to set up apple farms across Ethiopia - providing small family run farms with additional income, improving their livelihoods and making apples readily available for all.
IDE-UK provides low cost irrigation systems to farmers, sets them up with robust seedlings and trains them in apple husbandry (looking after the trees, growing the best fruit and so on).
In the world of apples, patience is a virtue/necessity as it takes up to three years for the trees to produce a decent crop. One challenge in particular to producing well formed apples is stopping the beaks of pesky birds pecking away at the fruit.
Abebe knows all about birds. Him and his family were one of the first to plant apple trees and last year, their first crop yielded over 300kg of fruit (that's roughly enough to apple up around 4,000 smoothies).
Abebe was then able to sell the best apples at market and as well as being able to support his family with the money he made, he's now growing his business by buying even more apple seedlings to plant.
Lewis from IDE-UK has just come back from visiting the Wolmere and Ejere districts of Ethiopia where he took these photos (unfortunately, it's the wrong time of year to see shiny red apples on the trees).
Abebe is just one of 226 farmers that IDE-UK and the innocent foundation have helped in this way.
Talk about getting to the core of the issue.
(Posted by Ruvan)