FRUIT FARMING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGIONS OF AFRICA
Fruit farming is defined as the type of farming in which farmers cultivate mainly fruit crops either for domestic, industrial or commercial purposes. It is regarded as Orchard farming.
MAJOR AREAS OF FRUIT FARMING
- In North-West Africa: The areas include Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Morocco.
- In South Africa: The areas are mainly around Cape Town, Natal and Orange Free State.
FACTORS FAVOURABLE TO FRUIT FARMING
- The presence of Mediterranean climate favours fruit farming in the regions.
- Presence of a bright, sunny weather with hot, dry summers and wet winters.
- Presence of a dry warm summer temperature of 21 degrees Celsius – 27 degrees Celsius.
- Abundance of rainfall in winter of 25-75cm per annum.
- Prominence of local winds around the Mediterranean region like Sirocco and Mistral.
- Availability of local and foreign markets to consume the products.
- The use of irrigation system to supplement insufficient rainfall.
- Government assistance in fruit farming.
- Presence of fertile volcanic crystalline and soils which encourage fruit farming.
- The use of advanced methods of cultivation e.g. terracing.
- The undulating hills (relief) with good drainage encourage large scale production.
TYPES OF FRUIT PRODUCED
- In South Africa: Popular fruits grown or produced include vine, grapes, apples, pears, oranges, pineapples, peaches and apricots.
- In North-West Africa: Important fruits produced include oranges, apricots, figs, grapes, olive, lemon, limes and tangerines.
IMPORTANCE OF FRUIT FARMING
- Fruit farming provides foreign exchange through the export of wine produced from fruits.
- It provides employment to many people.
- It provides raw materials for fruit canning and processing industries e.g. fruits for wine industries.
- It provides special wine consumed locally or exported to other countries.
- Fruits produced provide minerals and vitamins which are consumed locally.
- Viticulture, which is the cultivation of grape fruit, promotes specialization by some people.
PROBLEMS OF FRUIT FARMING
- Rainfall is unreliable as this affects the growth and production of fruits.
- Improper storage and processing can lead to poor quality of fruit products.
- There is the problem of competition in quality with other wines produced in other countries.
- Soil erosion during the summer season affects the production of fruits.
- Inadequate trained personnel on fruit processing.