After the Wiamoase “apple” brouhaha, several areas began to create awareness on apple growing in tropical Ghana. Places like Abetifi, Amedzofe and Teiman-Abokobi have reported the growth of apple trees in their communities.
Indeed, in Ghana, apples can grow in very cool areas like Abetifi, Amedzofe and Aburi. These areas experience temperate-like weather conditions that can accommodate the growth of apples and can allow apple trees to go through chilling stress before flowering. However, other humid areas in the country can only tolerate the tropical apple varieties common in India and other Asian regions.
After scientists from the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) visited the Wiamose “apple” site and confirmed that, indeed it was not apple but fig, the Institute’s attention was drawn to a current on-going experiment on the potential production of apple in Ghana.
This experiment is currently on-going at Tafo Atimatim-Taaboum in the Kwabre East district of the Ashanti region by Mr. Edward Akwasi Fosu, a technical assistant with a private firm in Antwerpen, Belgium.
Consequently, another team of research scientists (horticulturists) from the Institute, Mr Beloved Mensah Dzomeku and Mr. Asamoah Adjei were at Tafo Atimatim-Taaboum to ascertain the veracity of the alleged apple trial. The team from the CSIR-CRI was accompanied by Mr. Kwaku Asumadu of the CSIR-Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (CSIR-FORIG), Kumasi.
The team was informed that the proponent of the initiative, Mr. Edward Akwasi Fosu lives in Belgium studying apple growth. For the trial, he collected soil samples from different regions (temperate and tropical) of the world including Ghana to germinate apple seeds. His results revealed that it took four (4) days for seeds to germinate in the Ghanaian soils while other soils required a minimum of ten (10) days for germination.
Fascinated by this, he increased efforts to grow the seedlings in Ghana. Ten (10) seedlings were brought into Ghana in 2016 and planted in a house at Atimatim-Taaboum near the Janet Educational Complex. The trial location is on latitude 06o 46’ 447’’ N and longitude 001o 36’ 611’’ W at an altitude of 288.0m above sea level.
It is reported that the plants started fruiting two (2) years after planting in Ghana. The narrative showed that the seedlings were generated from cuttings. It is also reported that all but one of the plants were destroyed after the three years into the experiment due to lack of space in the house. This single plant has been subjected to various treatments over the years. The final treatment was scheduled for March, 2020 but had to be postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic. It is hopd that, the final tereatment will be done as soon as possible to allow the fruits to grow to the edible size. Our visit revealed apple growing in the house and the team also observed numerous branches from a single plant with few fruits. On site, the leaves and the fruits were subjected to the mobile app PlantSnap and the results indicated that the plant was edible apple Malus domestica. The leaves are simple and serrated with net venation. The leaves are about 0.2mm in thickness The fruits were averagely 26.8mm in diameter transversely and 18.0mm thick longitudinally.
Transverse and longitudinal sections through the immature fruits revealed all the features of apple (Malus domestica). Hence, the team can confidently say that indeed apple is growing in the vicinity.
It is our position that the Government of Ghana takes a critical look at the prospects of producing the fruit in Ghana. The CSIR-Crops Research Institute is capable of using tissue culture techniques to further evaluate and confirm this experiment.
Contributors: Mr. Beloved Mensah Dzomeku, Mr. Bernard Sakyiamah, Miss Benedicta Nsiah-Frimpong, Mr. Solomon Darkey, Mr, David Kow Amo