The “Training Smallholder Apple Farmers in China for Sustainable Production and Domestic Market Access” project combines the efforts of the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) at Cornell University and UC Davis, in partnership with the National Apple Research System in China, Shandong Agricultural University, Northwest A&F University, and the Provincial Agricultural Extension Bureaus of Shandong and Shaanxi Provinces, China.
The smallholder apple farmers in these provinces, the largest apple producing regions in China, face many intertwined problems across all aspects of apple production. The use of seedling rootstocks by smallholder apple farmers in China is the single most important factor that affects the sustainability of apple production as it has a long-term impact on tree productivity, fruit quality and the income of these smallholder apple farmers. The project has the goal ofimproving the wellbeing of rural smallholder apple farmers, particularly women. By implementing the “train the trainer” model, provincial extension agents will learn new techniques at “Master Pomologist Courses” taught by Cornell University faculty, who will share new information to the smallholder farmers they work with. The project is expected to train 2,000 extension agents and 200,000 smallholder apple farmers, half of whom will be women. UC Davis is creating the e-China Apple website that will allow extension agents and farmers to continue to access the information presented by the project team through presentations, interactive learning activities and academic papers.