Following on my previous blog on the the potential of indigenous fruits in AfricaI today read an article on progress that has been made in Tanzania.
This article lists four trees that are being planted and five, including the baobab, tamirand and marula which are harvested from the wild, that are the focus of increased attention. It identifies the following benefits that have been achieved:
- regional sale of jams and juices generates income
- using fruit to replaces staples such as maize in local brews has improved nutrition
- the use of fruit wine in place of dangerous illicit brews has improved safety
The work has been supported/funded by FARM-Africa and Government agencies which started the work as poverty alleviation and nutritional interventions.
The two difficulties identified are the short harvests and the inability to store unprocessed fruit and the availability of packaging material.
I think this is very promising and am trying to follow up where I can, to try and develop a complete picture of how and what has been achieved. This will help others to benefit from their natural resources. I will also add information on marula from South Africa with time.
I will be looking at what process to use to share the information – in the mean time please leave a comment or contact me with any ideas, thought or information you may have.
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.
What do you think? The blog allows you to respond easily so please make your input.