When your eyes are open, everyday you see the unknown. Belles (Cactus fruit) for me was beyind a fruit. It was the only means that I was dependent on to support my stationary material needs till grade 9 (nine). Every summer, I spent my years picking Cactus fruit and selling. Belles has lots of memory within me. It was my only stable food during summer and the only economic source for my schooling.
It is not only for me actuallly. Thousands of Eritreans depend their economic support on Belles. Starting from Senafe, (Southern most part of Eritrea) all along to Nakfa (The northern part of Eritrea) are are rich and blessed with this natural and wild fruit.
Belles from Segeneiti are known for their typicity, Arberebu and Nefasit are all the precious summer fruits of Asmara city. List is known about the fruits from Era, Mirara, Mihlab and Geleb. Yes, I didn’t forget also those found in Mendefera and Adikeih.
For me, Coctus fruits from Elabered were unique. Not because they were special, but because because of them, I am who I am today.
On this occasion, I would like to remember my dear friends, Estifanos Tewelde, Kflay Lbab, Fkadu Zeremariam, Fkadu Zeremariam, Efrem Girmay, Teages, Mulue Asfaha, Temesgen, Dawit Girmay, zerhimanot, Hagos, Osman Ejel, Mahder Zeray, Andom Kflezgi, Habtom TeWelde, and many whom they are not listed here, are all having lots of our early years memory.
Some of the places that we used to harvest Cactus fruit were, Duma, Anker wehatit, aysemied, chindik; hugb hugub, were our farm sight (actually we were owning them). And our market place, tenda, enda Osman kedaday and enda boy abdella were our favorite places.
Who imagined such a big processing industries occur for Belles, who imagined Belles is the the source of one of the most expensive organic oil to the world market? Who imagined for 1 kg of Belles it costed 3.90 € (if we convert it into Nakfa, 250 Nakfa). Who imagined this?
Who imagined that it is cultivated like any other fruits and people own them as a farm? Who imagined very delicious dishes can be prepared from the leaves of coctus tree? Just a question, are we to that much ignorant to exploit on what we have? Just imagine, how Eritrea is potentially rich if a policy is introduced to harvest this wild fruit in a scientifi way.
The most expensive oil from Moroco is obtained from Belles, Cactus fruit. Then do you think we need to import oil?
How many thousands of littres of oil could we have harvested by just picking the wild grown fruit? Just imagine!!!
I see a great potential investment area for Belles processing plant for Eritrea. All we need is a good environment for investment and citiznes whould benefit as natural owners of these wild fruit. I wish to see Processing plants planted in Nefassit, Arbe-Rebue, Weki-Zagir, Fishey Mirara, Era, Geleb, Nakfa, Senafe, Segeeniti, Adikeih, Senafe, Mendefera and at small scale why not in Ealebered.
This means, a total of around 10 possible industries are waiting to be opened. Wish to be done very, very soon.