DNA analysis1 established that the wild apple Malus sierversii is ancestor of modern cultivated apples. Malus sierversii in addition to a great diversity of other apple species are native to Southern Kazakhstan. This makes Almaty the largest city in Kazakhstan the apple’s ancestral home.
According to University of Illinois2,
- Apples were the favourite fruit of ancient Greeks and Romans.
- World’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy.
How did apples get to ancient Greeks and Romans? The ancient Silk Road.
It is not a coincidence that China and Turkey which are top producers of apples today anchor the two ends of the Silk Road. Unfortunately for Kazakhstan, the apple has not brought them a fortune. Despite an apple producer, Kazakhstan is a net importer. Imported fruit had estimated 55% market share in 20163.
An apple tree lives over a 100 years and can start fruiting 4-5 years after planting. Producing apples becomes a long term game of efficiency – when to plant new trees and when to uproot old trees that are no longer productive.