We are delighted that we met our Christmas Challenge target in full, thanks to the generosity of donors both large and small. Once Gift Aid is taken into account, we will have raised over £8,000 for our orchards project. The Big Give campaign enabled us to make contact with new supporters and all donations were doubled by match-funding. We will be able to provide at least 10,000 fruit trees with these donations. The produce will be sold to give an income and provide a local, sustainable source of food to the community. In many areas in Mali the soil has become too poor to grow grain crops. So grafted fruit trees provide a significant and reliable income. Fruit trees are less vulnerable to changing weather patterns than grain crops; they help to regenerate soil and improve the land, reduce wind erosion and capture carbon. Even within the first year of planting there is a good return on fruit trees which are grafted to fruit earlier and more productively and within a few years a substantial income is achieved. Both young men and young women are beneficiaries.
Grafted Orange trees can earn up to £15 early on and £60 a year by 6 years old. Jujiphus grows big fast and can raise £40 per tree in its first year. Mango, Custard Apple and Guava are also planted when in demand locally.
By providing young people in Sikasso District, Mali with employment in their orchards, we will remove the need for them to migrate. The produce of the orchards will provide income which will benefit the local economy. The fruit will also provide greater food security in the area. So this campaign will bring benefit to individuals, families, communities and the natural environment. A big win all round!