Amadioranch, it was the finger of God.
A clerk in Ugandan parliament was looking for apple seeds, and I emailed him and told him apples have to be grafted. I sent a few to them, but they wanted a lot more. I offered to send the materials if they'd do the grafting, which they did a great job on.
The clerk I was dealing with gave the operation over to a development consultant friend of his, John Baptist Lwanga, who found land to plant them. The next season a government contract came up, and I joked that they should form a company and bid on it. John Baptist took this seriously, and I ran out of reasons not to, so we incorporated as Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery in October 2012. The bid fell through, but he felt he had enough demand to continue the company, so in February he got some land from the Buganda Kingdom and recruited workers, trained them, and did about 3,000 trees.
Sales were mediocre, and the learning curve was high, but they made it through the season and got a lot of trees planted. The next season they did a lot more, including a couple of large orchards..
2015 was a tough year, we fell victim to an email scam that robbed us of all our operating capital, preventing us from grafting all but a few hundred trees. We thought we'd have to declare bankruptcy, but John Baptist received requests from existing orchards to help prune them and bring them back into productivity which tided him through. We also had international visitors paying to come learn tropic apple culture. The large orchards we planted continued to thrive, which also encouraged us.
We're starting out the 2016 season in much better shape, and John Baptist says it will be a busy season. Africa is full of failed aid projects that have left the country dependent and destitute. They want development, not aid, and want the satisfaction of providing for themselves. None of the people involved in this venture have a background in agriculture, which I think is God's joke on the apple industry. He picked a bunch of amateurs to show that it is His doing, not ours, which brings Him the credit.
I must add that even with the bad roads, lack of refrigeration, typhoid/malaria, tsetse flies, spitting cobras, drenching rains, and thieving monkeys, it's STILL easier than doing business in California.