Harvesting fruit from tall trees can be a problem. Some people ask young children to climb the trees and harvest ripe fruit. If the children don’t have a basket, they throw the fruit to the ground. The children may fall and injure themselves as they try to reach out for the fruit. Other people throw stones or sticks at the ripe fruit. This can also be dangerous if people are hit – either by the fruit or the stone or stick. Some people shake the tree, especially if it is small, and sometimes branches break as a result. Both ripe and unripe fruit fall to the ground and the family will quickly run out of fruit to harvest. Also, when the fruit hits the ground it is bruised and damaged. The fruit rots more quickly and is hard to sell.
Here is a method that can help to harvest clean, undamaged fruit. Mrs Chikowore of Harare, Zimbabwe uses a stick with a container to harvest avocados. The harvested fruit is not bruised and there are no dangers to other people. You need a stick that is long enough to reach the tree top and a container that is big enough to hold your biggest fruit – an empty tin is ideal. The container should be open at one end. Place some crumpled paper in the base to prevent any bruising to the fruit. Tie the container very firmly to the end of the stick with rope or thin wire.
To harvest fruit, lift the stick and peck the ripe fruit with the container. The fruit will fall into the container. Mrs Chikowore can pick two or three avocados in her container before she lowers the stick to collect the fruit.
Livai Matarirano, Zimbabwe
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