During his official visit to Italy on January 18th, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu. Tokayev and the FAO head attended a presentation of the famous Kazakh aport apples as part of the FAO’s One Country One Priority Product program, the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture reported.
“Kazakhstan is widely known as the birthplace of apples,” the President said. “Aport apples grow in the vicinity of Almaty, the largest metropolis in our country and my hometown. Translated from Kazakh, ‘Almaty’ means ‘place of abundance of apples.’”
Aport apples are distinguished by their large size, distinct smell, and their succulent nature. One of the main landmarks in Almaty, the first sight to greet visitors to the Kok-Tobe Mountain which looms over the city is a granite statue of an apple with water gushing from its core.
Tokayev expressed his hope that Kazakhstan’s initiative to promote aport exports on world markets will be supported by the FAO.
In 1970, there were 3.8 million aport trees in Kazakhstan, but by 1984, only 1.4 million remained. In 2012, scientific research began on the revival and rejuvenation of the variety, including the establishment of an experimental garden of aport grafted onto Sievers apple trees, where in 2023, Kazakh scholars harvested the first large fruits weighing 400-500 g.
FAO’s One Country One Priority Product program was launched in September 2021. It focuses on initiatives for the green development of high-value agricultural products with unique qualities and special characteristics associated with a geographic region, agricultural practices, and cultural heritage. Other countries with their own distinct products also participate in the program. For example, Turkey is represented by figs, Moldova by table grapes, and Uzbekistan by cherries.