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PHOTOS: CSIR confirms existence of apple tree at Atimatim-Taaboum

BY: Kweku Zurek
Transverse section of the immature apple fruit at Tafo Atimatim-Taaboum
Transverse section of the immature apple fruit at Tafo Atimatim-Taaboum

The Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has confirmed the existence of an apple tree at Atimatim-Taaboum in the Kwabre East District of Ashanti Region.

The CSIR in a publication said the apple tree is part of a trial being conducted by Mr Edward Akwasi Fosu, a native of the Atimatim area near Kumasi but works in Belgium.

Out of the 10 apple seedlings Mr Fosu brought to Ghana in 2016 and planted in a house at Atimatim-Taaboum near the Janet Educational Complex, only one plant survived due to a lack of space.

Longitudinal section of the immature apple fruit at Tafo Atimatim-Taaboum

"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 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 hoped that, the final treatment will be done as soon as possible to allow the fruits to grow to the edible size," the CSIR said in a publication.

A branch of apple plant with leaves

Confirmation

A team of research scientists (horticulturists) from the Institute including; Mr Beloved Mensah Dzomeku, Mr Asamoah Adjei and Mr Kwaku Asumadu of the CSIR-Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (CSIR-FORIG), Kumasi ascertained the veracity of the apple trial.

A physical inspection of the plant and the use of the PlantSnap mobile app indicated that the plant was edible apple Malus Domestica.

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"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 PlantSnapand 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".

The confirmation comes days after the CSIR concluded that a supposed apple tree planted at Wiamoase in the Ashanti Region was a fig tree.

Whole plant of apple (Malus domestica) at Atimatim-Taaboum in the Kwabre East District of Ashanti Region

Apples can grow in Ghana

The CSIR also stated that apples can grow in very cool areas like Abetifi, Amedzofe and Aburi because 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.

"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".