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The story of Mukelen Akjoltoev is an example of how dedication and diligence can overcome difficulties and lead to prosperity. Mukelen is 68 years old and is truly a rich man. Mukelen has 10 children, 24 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He was a civil engineer by training and had been building houses all his life, but never had the opportunity to be involved in the orchard business.


But it was never too late to start.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union difficult times befell Mukelen. He lost his job while 10 children at home still needed to be fed.


But land that previously had been property of collective farms was distributed among villagers, and Mukelen received 10.8 acres of land because of his large household. The land had been originally used for growing grains and was not prepared to be used for an orchard. So, like many villagers, Mukelen used his land to grow wheat and potatoes for sale and for feeding his family. But in 2005 when he learned about the Apple Project that took place in Tosor and Tamga villages, he immediately realized the potential of orcharding and made it his vocation.

Orchards do not grow in one day. Mukelen realized for the first time that special care was needed to successfully grow fruit trees. “Previously, we would just plant the trees and wait for the yield to come,” he explained. But long before a farmer is able to reap handsome dividends from his investments he must first sow time and patience; both of which Mukelen had in abundance and he became one of the most active participants of the project from the start.
“I applied everything that Kompanion’s agronomists taught in trainings to my orchard. I had so many questions that they tired out our agronomists!” Mukelen told us smiling, “I obtained a permit to use my land for an orchard, took a Kompanion loan, and planted apricot trees. Even after the end of the apple project, we kept getting very valuable help from Kompanion’s agronomists. It meant a lot to us.”
With hard work and perseverance, the apple project bore fruits for all who took part. “At the beginning of the project, we could hardly fill one truck with apricots harvested from two participating villages. But today just one participant can fill two such trucks for export and we have many such participants,” remembered Omurbek, agronomist at Kompanion’s Karakol branch.
“Now we don’t have problems with sales. Quite the contrary, many buyers want to buy our produce and we are able to choose the best price offered,” Mukelen said, “I have everything I can dream of. The only thing I ask for is good weather. I pass the knowledge that I learned from the Project to my children so that they can take care of our garden in the future.”
Mukelen reaped plenty of rewards for his efforts. He used his first profits to build a house for his son. And in 2012, his orchards yielded 50 tons of high-quality apricots, which added up to a net income of over 1 million soms. 
Mukelenhas become a millionaire.
But Mukelen is not complacent with his success and does not plan to stop after his initial accomplishments.“Now I am clearing one part of my garden near the house. Here I have apples and apricots growing, and I want to remove all old apricot trees and make a vegetable garden to grow ecologically safe vegetables for my family. All this I was able to create thanks to Kompanion’s Agricultural Initiatives.”
It is a great pleasure to hear such success stories from ordinary people--stories about dreams and plans that came true. At Kompanion, we will continue to strive until all those who want can write their own success stories.


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