Potential of fruit trees in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa for food and nutrition security and income generation
Potential of fruit trees in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa for food and nutrition security and income generationwca2014-2173 Katja Kehlenbeck 1,*Clement Okia 2Stepha McMullin 1,Loyce Jepkorir 1James Ngulu 1,Christopher Mutunga 1,Agnes Gachuiri 1Anne Mbora 1,Miyuki Iiyama 3,Zac Tchoundjeu 4,David Ojara 5,Antoine Kalinganire 6,Isaac B. Nyoka 7,Simon Mngomba 7,Ramni Jamnadass 1 1Tree Diversity, Domestication and Delivery, World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya, 2World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Kampala, Uganda, 3World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya, 4World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Yaounde, Cameroon, 5GORTA (The Freedom from Hunger Council of Ireland), Kampala, Uganda, 6World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Bamako, Mali, 7World Agroforestry Centre ICRAF, Lilongwe, Malawi
Many fruit tree species in drylands of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) provide edible fruits which are locally of great importance for food security, nutrition and income generation, particularly during droughts and the ‘hunger gap’ periods occurring at the beginning of the cropping season. Women and children are often strongly involved in and benefit from wild fruit collection, processing and trade. Cultivation of exotic and indigenous fruit tree (IFT) species in agroforestry systems diversifies production options for small-scale farmers and can bring significant health, environmental and economic benefits, particularly in the face of climate change. In this study we present case studies from different dryland regions in SSA to showcase the importance of tree fruits for nutrition and food security and for local livelihoods.
In Adjumani district, Uganda, 44% of 68 respondents reported to use the fruit pulp of Balanites aegyptiaca, 84% of the fruits were harvested from the wild, mainly by children and women. In Mwingi district, Eastern Kenya, the 104 respondents consumed fruits of 57 IFT species; 36 species were found on-farm and 21 in the woodlands. During the ‘hunger gap’ periods, at least 12 IFT species have mature fruits. In semi-arid Eastern Kenya, mango farming generated mean annual incomes of 320 USD per household (n=87) from 77 mango trees on average. In the Miombo region of Southern Africa, on-going participatory domestication of Uapaca kirkiana, Strychnos cocculoides and Sclerocarya birrea has developed new tree crops to capture economic opportunities while at the same time reducing the dependence and exploitation of wild tree populations. Similar efforts are under way in the West African Sahel, where Adansonia digitata, Tamarindus indica and Ziziphus mauritiana are currently being domesticated.
More efforts are needed in research and development to fully utilize the potential of fruit trees for improving livelihoods in the drylands of SSA.