New Pruning Techniques Help Moldovan Cherry Producers Increase Crop and Fruit Quality
There is a saying in Moldova that "Big trees produce big crops." But that saying may no longer be true after the introduction of a special pruning technique that allows smaller trees to provide a harvest comparable to their normal-sized relatives.
Mihai Cojocaru is a plantation owner in Criuleni District in Eastern Moldova, whose firm Agriest-Com SRL, established a new orchard on 11 hectares of land two years ago to produce saplings on demand, likes to think of himself as a researcher. "I started to grow trees out of curiosity," says the 65-year-old businessman. "I have brought home new varieties of trees from various parts of the world, for testing. I wanted to see how they adapt to Moldovan conditions."
Mr. Cojocaru learned of the Kym Green Bush pruning method, a technique that allows small trees to bear an increased amount of fruit, through the Agricultural Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (ACED) training program, a joint United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) program to promote high value agriculture in Moldova.
The pruning technique and orchard management method employed by ACED, popular among fruit producers around the world, was developed by Kym Green, an Australian grower. Because the technique is little known in Moldova, ACED production specialists are promoting the benefits to Moldovan farmers and suppliers.
Minimum labor, larger crops, quality fruits, easy harvesting, and enough time for storage and transportation makes this method an effective investment, thinks Mr. Cojocaru, who plans to expand his cherry orchard to be able to produce 20 to 25 tons of fruit per hectare in a couple of years. He also intends to cover the orchard with a protective net against hail storms and to install a micro-sprinkler irrigation system to ensure quality requirements and avoid crop loss. The new pruning method will allow Mr Cojocaru to better care for the 160,000 cherry, peach, apricot and plum trees he has planted. Already his business is employing more local workers, providing benefit to entire families in his community.