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Tosor is a picturesque village situated on the southern shore of gorgeous Issyk-Kul Lake. In 2005-2006, Tosor village and neighboring Tamga village joined with Kompanion and Mercy Corps to hold "The Apple Project."
Apples from the region of Issyk-Kul have long been known for their excellent flavor and high quality. But apple growers lacked up-to-date information on apple-growing, and the trade market was poorly developed, which resulted in yield loss and overall profit.
The aim of The Apple Project was to educate those who were cultivating apples about modern and effective methods of orchard care. The goal of the project was to boost local agricultural markets from the ground up. More detailed information you can find here.   

Six years have passed since the project finished, so we decided to check in with some participants to see how their gardens and the level of income from apples and apricots had changed. 

First we came to Kabylbek and Nafisa Beshbolaev. Nafisa has been a Kompanion client since its foundation. Her husband Kabylbek is also now a client.
Kabylbek and Nafisa both graduated from higher education and have work experience in non-agricultural fields. Nafisa is a cardiologist and has been working for 30 years at the Military Health Resort situated on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul. Kabylbek is a mechanical engineer, but in Soviet times he jumped from job to job, first as a mechanic; then as an accountant: then he was chairman of a rural council; then a teacher in a driving school and at last found his vocation: now he works as an agronomist at the same health resort as Nafisa does.    
In 1991, they received a plot of land. It was an undeveloped vacant plot and the ground was not prepared for gardening. "When we got land here, we started settling down. We built an outhouse and planted small orchard but the yield was small. We did a little of everything and had livestock," Kabylbek said. "Everything that I know now about orchards I learned from the project. They gave us pruning tools, information about nurseries and what is more important they gave us knowledge which we now pleased to share with our neighbors and friends. Thanks to agronomists’ advice and application of them I saw the difference. Many gardeners pay money to prune their trees. We learned to do it ourselves. And not only pruning but roots weeding as well, we learned to use organic fertilizers which we make ourselves too, by the way. All these actions contribute to increase of yield and improvement of its quality. And if we have good yield our clients are happy too, so we see a better profit."        
Nafisa helps her husband in their garden. "The money from our first loan we spent on seedlings and apple trees, apricots, peaches and black currants. We made jams, preserves and juices for our family. Our orchard gives us everything: fruits for our personal use and for our income," Nafisa told us.
The apple orchard is now bringing in a stable profit to Kabylbek and Nafisa. Over time Kabylbek has worked with individual customers. He prefers to give preference to local businessmen. Not long ago he bought a neighboring plot of land and planted more apple trees of summer varieties and apricots and peaches. 
"Our garden is big now and in a season we cannot manage with it on our own," Nafisa told us. "Our son and daughter-in-law and daughter with son-in-law come from Bishkek to help us and above that we hire four people from Karakol. We pay them for each day and they make good money. I can say that our garden feeds not only us but also gives job to other people.
Four years ago Kabylbek joined Kompanion’s Initiative ‘Cellar’. "It is important both to grow yield and preserve it. Our young garden is growing up and will provide us with a yield soon. We want to preserve it for us, for our children and for sale. The cellar we have still requires improvements and we plan to take out another loan to improve it.
"When the project finished we organized the Association of Orchardists. I am the chairman of this association. In our group, we have 12-13 people who are available to give advice or consultation to anyone in need, like where to buy seedlings, which variety of apples or apricots to choose, how to choose good seedlings and how to prune correctly. We do not take money for our consultations. We received this knowledge for free and now we share it for free. Thanks to Kompanion’s sponsorship we repaired a 500-ton fruit store in our village. Our association rented it from the local administration but unfortunately the volume of fruit we keep is still small," Kabylbek told in conclusion.
We said goodbye to Kabylbek and Nafisa and wished them further success and prosperity and then moved on to a second participant whose story will appear soon on the page of our website. 

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