Knowledge for Development

Relevant publications

Indigenous Fruit Trees in Southern Africa

M. LaverdièrePaper Submitted to XII World Forestry Congress, 2003 Quebec City, Canada2003This paper looks at the status and contribution of Indigenous Fruit Trees (IFTs) to food security in southern Africa, and reviews and assesses the physical situation of IFTs in the Miombo Woodland. It contains information on use and trade of IFTs, and on biological developments in domestication and dissemination. It covers processing and marketing and explores avenues for the future of IFTs. Some 40% of the total land area of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region of 682 million ha is covered by natural forests and woodlands. Ethnobotanical surveys have explored use of and problems related to IFTs. Vegetation mapping is available in all SADC countries and covers dominant species, including IFTs. Some IFTs are also recorded during this process and correlations can be made to estimate fruit production. Priority species for domestication include: Uapaca kirkiana, Parinari curatellifolia, and Strychnos cocculoides. Species in drier areas such as Sclerocarya birrea and Adansonia digitata are also important for domestication. Studies show that many IFTs are easy to propagate by seed and vegetatively. Currently, no documentation exists on which the formulation of sustainable forest management plans for IFT extraction can be based. Research programmes should emphasize this aspect.


Diversity of indigenous fruit trees in the traditional cotton-millet farming system: the case of Adwari subcounty, Lira district, Uganda

J.G. Agea, J.Obua, J.R.S. Kaboggoza and D. WaiswaAfrican Journal of Ecology 45 (Suppl. 3): 39–43.2007A field survey on indigenous fruit tree species (IFTS) was conducted in Adwari subcounty, Lira district between August 2004 and March 2005. The objectives were to: determine IFTS diversity in the traditional farming system; generate a species priority list, characterize and document the values of IFTS as perceived by farmers; and develop criteria for selecting IFTS for on-farm cultivation. A questionnaire designed to capture socio-economic data was administered to 120 randomly selected respondents. Farm walks were conducted to identify and assess the proportion of farmland under IFTS. Preference ranking was used to generate a species priority list. On-farm diversity of IFTS was analyzed using Shannon–Wiener’s diversity index (H'. DAFOR scale was used to rate occurrence of IFTS onfarm. The diversity of IFTS was relatively high (H' = 2.164) although the average proportion of farmland under IFTS cover was low (23.3 ± 5%). Vitellaria paradoxa, Vitex doniana, Anona senegalensis and Tamarindus indica were most preferred by local people. The choice of IFTS for on-farm cultivation varied from their food, medicinal to cash values. There is a need to formulate clear policies and by-laws to encourage on-farm cultivation of IFTS.


Genetic management of indigenous fruit trees in southern Africa: A case study of Sclerocarya birrea based on nuclear and chloroplast variation

C.A.C. Kadu, M. Imbuga, R. Jamnadass and I.K. Dawson South African Journal of Botany 72: 421–427.2006Indigenous fruit trees are widely used by humans in southern Africa. Little information is however available on regional genetic variation in these species, knowledge essential for their proper use and conservation. Here, this gap is addressed by assessing random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and chloroplast variation in Sclerocarya birrea, a fruit tree that has been important to humans in the region for millennia. A strong overall positive correlation between genetic (RAPD) and geographic distances was observed for 12 populations of S. birrea subsp. caffra sampled from seven countries (standardised Mantel statistic, rM=0.857, Pb0.001), supporting a ‘structuring-by-distance’ model in devising genetic management strategies. Cluster analysis indicated, however, that genetic distances between geographically proximate stands were high on occasions, suggesting that inclusion of multiple stands nationally can sometimes be useful in rangewide management. Overall, an analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated that 19% of RAPD (assumed nuclear) variation partitioned among S. birrea subsp. caffra stands. Consistent with other nuclear–organellar comparisons for tree species, a much greater proportion of chloroplast variation (70%) partitioned among stands, suggesting a rather limited role for seed compared to pollen in mediating gene flow. Further analysis of S. birrea involved additional sampling from Tanzania of two other recognised subspecies (subsp. birrea and subsp. multifoliolata) that are not otherwise found in the southern Africa region. AMOVA indicated that more RAPD (29%) and chloroplast (75%) variation partitioned among relatively proximate subspecies stands (4 populations, 1 subsp. caffra, 2 subsp. birrea and 1 subsp. multifoliolata) in Tanzania than among subsp. caffra stands sampled extensively across southern Africa, suggesting Tanzania should be a focus for genetic management activities. View publication.


Azanza garckeana: A Valuable Edible Indigenous Fruit Tree of Botswana

W. Mojeremane and S.O. TshwenyanePakistan Journal of Nutrition 3 (5): 264-267. 2004 Azanza garkeana (morojwa) is a valuable edible indigenous fruit tree species confined to east and southern Africa. Because of its multiple uses, the species is selected and retained by farmers in Botswana when they clear the woodland for crops and building house. It is one of the indigenous fruit tree species that is semi-domesticated by local people in Botswana. The species is an important indigenous source of food in Botswana. Besides providing people with fruits, the tree also provides goods (timber, firewood, fodder, etc.) and services (soil conservation, shade, etc.). The species is an important source of essential minerals particularly P, Ca, Mg and Na. This paper reviews Azanza garckeana as an important multipurpose indigenous fruit tree with high potential social and economic value in Botswana.


Indigenous fruit in Papua New Guinea

R.M. BourkeThe Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.This paper describes some of the indigenous fruit species of Papua New Guinea (PNG); that is, species which were grown and eaten prior to settlement by other Pacific islanders, Europeans and Asians from about 1870 AD onwards. A list of 40 species that are eaten as fruit in PNG is presented, but the list is by no means complete. Information is given on ten of the most commonly eaten indigenous fruits grown by the rural population, and six other indigenous fruit species. The following attributes are covered for each species: how the fruit is consumed; global distribution; distribution within PNG; altitudinal range in PNG; the number of rural people who live in locations where the species is common; production pattern (crop seasonality); marketing; and potential for further development. The species discussed are bukabuk (Burckella obovata), coastal pandanus (Pandanus tectorius), golden apple (Spondias cytherea), kumu musong (Ficus copiosa), Ficus dammaropsis, Ficus tinctoria,Ficus wassa, Malay apple (Syzygium malaccense), marita (Pandanus conoideus), mon (Dracontomelon dao), parartocarpus (Parartocarpus venenosa), pouteria (Pouteria maclayana), rukam (Flacourtia rukam), ton (Pometia pinnata), watery rose apple (Syzygium aqueum) and traditional mango (Mangifera minor).


Apiculture value chain experiences in Ethiopia

The project ‘Improving Productivity and Market Success’ (IPMS) in apiculture value chain development in Ethiopia has produced a video titled ‘No bees no honey’. IPMS and stakeholders worked at the district level to produce high quality honey by using an integrated commodity development approach. The video shows various value addition activities and processes employed by the project (ILRI Clippings, 08/02/2012).


The yield gap of mango in Phrao, Thailand, as investigated through comparative performance evaluation

A comparative performance analysis was carried out of 45 orchards containing mango in Phrao at 80 km of Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, with the aim to identify land and management aspects that condition mango productivity. Tree counts revealed that mango trees made up 34, 42, and 23% of the orchards on hills, footslopes, and terraces, respectively. Log-linear relationships that quantify the contribution to the total yield gap for each yield constraint showed that yields increased if: (1) it was not an "off" year; (2) the orchard was situated on a hill or on soils with a relatively high pH or poor water holding capacity; (3) supplemental irrigation could be supplied; (4) weeding was carried out by tractor; (5) pruning was carried out; and (6) if pesticides were sprayed by motor sprayer, deep into the canopy. The model suggests that environmental factors (location and pH) accounted for about 30% of the yield gap, while management factors accounted for 49%, and the year effect for 21%. The log-linear behaviour of the yield data results in exponential yield increments for each partial yield gap closed. Hence, current production is not yet constrained by the law of diminishing returns and management of mango should strive for the highest level of technology available. From abstract Elsevier Science Journal.


Accessibility to and consumption of indigenous vegetables and fruits by rural households in Matungu division, western Kenya

B.N. Ekesa, M.K. Walingo and M.O. Abukutsa-OnyangoAfrican Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development 9: 8.2009Unacceptably high rates of micronutrient deficiencies persist mostly among resource-poor communities who rely on subsistence farming. In these communities, consumption of vegetables and fruits is the most sustainable way of reducing micronutrient deficiencies. Apart from enhancing dietary diversity, indigenous vegetables and fruits are often easier to grow, resistant to pests, acceptable to local tastes, rich and cheap sources of micronutrients. Despite this, they are mostly associated with poverty. This paper gives results on accessibility to and consumption of indigenous vegetables and fruits by rural households obtained from a cross-sectional surveys carried out in Matungu division, western Kenya. Accessibility was measured by; availability at local markets, own production and obtaining from natural habitats while consumption was measured using a food frequency questionnaire. Two local markets were purposively selected and 120 households drawn from the population. Data was collected using market surveys and questionnaires and summarized using tables and charts. Of the 372 market stalls only 23.5% and 13.8% of them had indigenous vegetables (9 varieties) and fruits (4 varieties) respectively. Indigenous vegetables were only cultivated by 11.8% of the households; these included only six varieties and cowpea leaves (Vigna unguilata) were the most popular. Five indigenous fruit varieties were being gathered, and guavas were the most popular. Consumption of up to 9 varieties of indigenous vegetables was observed, with cow peas, jute mallow and amaranths reporting more than 50% consumption. Six varieties of indigenous fruits had been consumed. The low accessibility to and consumption of indigenous vegetables and fruits observed, pose a major nutrition problem. Caregivers, mothers and small-holder farmers should be educated on the role of indigenous vegetables and fruits in food security, nutrition and health. They should also be encouraged and supported to sustainably grow and utilize these fruits and vegetables.


Traditional Pacific Island Crops

The goal of the Traditional Pacific Island Crops website is to provide organized access to quality, free Web resources that provide information on these twelve important traditional Pacific Island crops. This is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of resources. Resources are selected based on their relevance to Pacific islands. The emphasis is on collecting full-text resources so that Pacific Islanders - especially librarians, Extension agents, farmers, and students - can find and access the information they need to grow and market the 12 crops covered in the database.


Specialty Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry

This project promotes high quality food, fiber, and healthcare crops grown in diverse agroforestry systems to provide family farms both subsistence and commercial opportunities. Specialty crops provide a rapidly growing economic opportunity for farmers and gardeners who are interested in diversifying their crops and who are willing to innovate their production methods, post-harvest processing, and marketing. Farm and Forest Production and Marketing (FFPM) profiles for 32 crops detail essential information for crop development: horticulture and botany; the roles for each crop in mixed-species agroforestry; nutrition and food security; commercial products, product quality standards; location and size of markets; post-harvest processing; opportunities for local value-added processing; and the potential for genetic improvement.The project supports: integrating trees and crops (agroforestry) commercial and non-commercial plantings of all sizes, including homegardens small-scale commercial operations suitable for small lots local food production for happier and healthier communities traditional crops community food self-reliance. Project outcomes include increased adoption of specialty crops, micro-enterprise development, local food production, and sustainable multi-crop agroforestry systems, thereby supporting economic and ecological viability of our communities.


African Centre for Crop Improvement

The African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) is based on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. In January 2004 the University of Natal merged with the University of Durban-Westville to form the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The new university (with a combined student population of 42 000 students in 2004) is now the largest in South Africa. The University of KwaZulu-Natal is a multi-racial, multi-cultural, English medium university with increasing numbers of international students. The Faculty of Science and Agriculture, within which the ACCI is located, has eleven agricultural disciplines plus a full complement of biological and physical sciences.The ACCI aims to train African plant breeders in Eastern and Southern Africa, on African crops, to breed better crops using conventional and molecular breeding tools. The focus is on the breeding of African and African grown Crops (cereals, roots and tubers and pulses) for increased drought tolerance and improved food security for the poor in Africa.


International standards for phytosanitary measures – Integrated measures for plants for planting

This standard produced by the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) outlines the main criteria for the identification and application of integrated measures at the place of production for the production of plants for planting (excluding seeds) for international trade. It provides guidance to help identify and manage pest risks associated with plants for planting as a pathway. Plants for planting are generally considered to pose a higher pest risk than other regulated articles. Integrated measures may be used to manage the pest risks that plants for planting pose as a pathway for regulated pests and to ensure they meet phytosanitary import requirements. The use of integrated measures involves national plant protection organisations (NPPOs) as well as producers, and relies on pest risk management measures applied throughout the production and distribution processes. (IPPC, 3/2012)


Specialty crops for Pacific Islands

Elevitch, C.R., (ed). 2011. Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands. Permanent Agriculture Resources. 546p.From bamboo to black pepper, cacao to coconut and tea to taro – Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands provides detailed cultivation, value-added, and marketing information for 26 of the most important specialty crops for Pacific Islands and other tropical locations. These crops provide a rapidly growing economic opportunity for innovative farmers and gardeners who are interested in diversifying their products. The book provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on innovating production methods, postharvest processing, and marketing. The emphasis is on providing small farms with opportunities for local consumption and commercial sale.


Handbook for Participatory Socio-Economic Evaluation of Pollinator-Friendly Practices

FAO and IIED have developed this 5-step guide to help farmers evaluate the benefits, and costs of applying pollinator-friendly practices. This handbook provides guidance on how organisations can work with farmers to evaluate the impact of pollinator-friendly practices on their livelihoods.


Compendium on recent advances in chemical and botanical pesticides

Chemical pesticides have toxic effects on several non-target species and issues of safety and evaluation of toxicity in the environment is raised on a regular basis in civil society. This book is a compilation of paper looking into the effects of chemical pesticides on fish, earthworms, and beneficial microbes in agricultural ecosystems. Of note are the following chapters: Biotechnological approaches for insect pests control, Plant based pesticides, biomarkers and pesticide exposure in fish. This publisher has produced another book on strategies and techniques for pesticides analysis.(Intech Publisher, 07/2012)


Trainer's manuals on banana tissue-culture plantlets

The CGIAR Roots, Tubers and Bananas research programme recently released its first publications: two training manuals, one on growing bananas using tissue-culture plantlets and the other on running a banana tissue-culture nursery. The manuals are based on trainings conducted in Burundi, Kenya and Uganda as part of a project exploring alternative ways of delivering tissue-culture plantlets to smallholder farmers. To encourage farmers to switch to tissue-culture plantlets, development projects typically distribute large quantities of plantlets at subsidized prices. The problem with this type of strategy is that the supply chain set up during the project usually collapses when donor support ends. The training manuals are not intended for farmers or nursery operators, but are meant to be used by extension workers or applied scientists to take the concerned parties through the technical aspects of taking care of tissue-culture plantlet. (, 1/03/2013) 


Caribbean pineapple production and post harvest manual

This manual describes the best practices in all aspects of commercial pineapple production and post-harvest handling, utilising materials, technologies and support services that are generally available to the Caribbean farmer. The manual incorporates the principles of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for the production and delivery of pineapple to consumers as a safe, wholesome commodity. This manual is a revision and reprint of the 2008 publication, ‘A Guide for Sustainable Production of Export Grade Pineapple in Dominica’. It provides up-to-date information on appropriate marketing strategies, the required crop management, yields and productivity programmes and post-harvest practices. and FAO, 2011)


Tropical fruit tree species and climate change

Tropical fruits are adapted to hot and humid environments. Many tropical fruit species might spread beyond their current geographical limit whereas some species might exhibit irregular bearing of fruit. In this context, there are some important questions that need answers: What are the key characteristics that allow farmers to choose a new crop that they are not used to growing? Are farmers already experiencing impacts of climate change? If so, what are their adaptation strategies? Are there new opportunities for capitalizing tropical fruit tree genetic resources that benefit human kind? The study provides a state of knowledge to overcome threats to agriculture and food security, exploring new ways of helping vulnerable rural communities adjust to global changes in climate.[showUid]=6946(Bioversity, 2012)


Ethnobotanical knowledge of indigenous fruits in Northern Namibia

Indigenous wild edible fruits form a rich source of vitamins, fibres, minerals and a heterogeneous collection of bioactive compounds referred to as phytochemicals. This study records the different indigenous knowledge system (IKS) practices related to the indigenous fruit trees in Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions of Namibia.(Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 9:34, 2013)


Lost crops of Africa: Volume 3: Fruits

This volume about fruits is the third in a series about lost crops of Africa. The volume describes 24 little-known indigenous African cultivated and wild fruits that have potential as food- and cash-crops but are typically overlooked by scientists, policymakers, and the world at large. Fruits described vary from baobab and butterfruit to chocolate berries and custard apples. The book assesses the potential of each fruit to help overcome malnutrition, boost food security, foster rural development, and create sustainable landcare in Africa. Each fruit is also described in a separate chapter, based on information provided and assessed by experts throughout the world. Volume I describes African grains and Volume II African vegetables. Read this document.