A report, by the National Research Council of America, the third in a series by the council called ‘Lost Crops of Africa’, appears to promote the domestication of the indigenous fruits of Africa as a solution to nutritional, environmental and economic needs!
I wonder how real this is? Many areas of Africa have abundant fruit, indigenous and other. But this only during the harvest, when in fact excesses develop because the production exceeds consumption. Fruit is of course much more perishable and more difficult to stabilise and store than cereals and tubers. This means that the household use of fruit is somewhat limited and that the industrial processing for conservation tends to be expensive.
To me this indicates that the opportunity is rather in the economic sector where products from Africa can address Western food and medicinal trends such as super fruits, natural products, herbal extracts etc
An example is the Marula tree, which has become the base of one massive (Amarula Cream) and one significant (marula oil in cosmetics) new industry in addition to the traditional industry (Marula Beer) but still hasn’t required domestication of the marula – possibly because there are sufficient wild trees or that there is an attemt to keep cash flowing to harvesters.
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