|Indigenous Fruit Trees in Eastern Africa|
Improved management and utilisation of Eastern Africa indigenous fruit trees.
A Research Project Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, UK
CONTRACT No F/00 174/K
Duration: 3 years, 1st April 2007 - 31th March 2010.
1. Mr. Abbas Hassan Ali, Sudan, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Mr. Dino Andrew Woiso, Tanzania, e-mail: email@example.com
3. Mr. James Kimondo, Kenya, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Mr. Musa Mohamed, Ethiopia, e-mail: email@example.com
5. Mr. Okia Clement Akais, Uganda, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indigenous fruit trees play a crucial role in Eastern Africa in tempering the effects of climate in addition to providing a wide range of products. Indigenous fruit trees are essential, because they provide important nutrients and vitamins to diets that are dominated by cereals, because many of them produce fruits during the late dry season and early wet season, when stocks of cereal crops usually are low, and because they provide a source of income. Due to increased human and livestock population pressures, these tree resources are, however, continuously being destroyed. This research project aims to investigate and develop methods of improving the management and utilisation of selected indigenous fruit tree species of economic value through the participation of local communities. Among the indigenous fruit tree species of Eastern Africa, The Desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca), African Fan Palm (Borassus aethiopum),Yeheb (Cordeauxia edulis), Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) and Chocolate Berry (Vitex payos) rank high in local people's preferences and in national priorities for domestication in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya, respectively and these are targeted in the present research project.
Objectives of the Project
Objective 2: to enhance fruit production and quality of the selected
indigenous tree species through plus tree selection and domestication
in collaboration with farmers.
Objective 3: to develop improved tree seed and seedling distribution
systems, facilitating better access of farmers to improved indigenous
fruit tree germplasm.
Objective 4: to develop appropriate village level processing technologies
and improved market possibilities for fruits of the selected indigenous
fruit trees, thus increasing the value added and income from the fruits.
Objective 5: to disseminate results of the project to a wide range of
stakeholders, including farmers, technicians, scientists and policymakers.
Expected results and importance for Sub-Saharan Africa
The above five indigenous fruit tree species have been chosen both because of their local and regional importance, and because they have potential to serve as models for diversifying income and improving livelihoods of local people. The chosen tree species are currently underutilised either because of sub-optimal management or because the full genetic potential is not exploited. Most of them remain semi or undomesticated and have not been objects of scientific study until fairly recently. These are native tree species providing fruits that are used and traded locally and internationally. The use of such species for diversifying income and improving the livelihoods of rural people and at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability and reversing the loss of biodiversity is innovative. The project will build knowledge that contributes to improvement of indigenous fruit trees, better access by farmers to improved tree germplasm, and better markets for the fruits. The ultimate goal of the project is that local people will apply this knowledge to diversify their income and improve their livelihoods.