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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III LOST CROPS of AFRICA volume III Fruits Development, Security, and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Program and staff costs for this study came from the U.S. Agency for International Development, specifically USAID’s Bureau for Africa with additional support from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Additional funding was received from the Presidents Committee of the National Academies. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10596-5 (Book) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10596-X (Book) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-10597-2 (PDF) International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-10597-8 (PDF) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 93086876 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Suggested citation: National Research Council. 2008. Lost Crops of Africa. Volume III: Fruits, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Copyright 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III PANEL ON AFRICAN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES NORMAN BORLAUG, Chair, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Mexico City, Mexico ANTHONY CUNNINGHAM, School for Environmental Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia JANE I. GUYER, Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA HANS HERREN, Millennium Institute, Arlington, Virginia, USA CALESTOUS JUMA, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA AKINLAWON MABOGUNJE, Development Policy Centre (retired), Ibadan, Nigeria BARBARA UNDERWOOD, National Eye Institute (retired), Sun City, California, USA MONTAGUE YUDELMAN, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, Washington, DC, USA PROGRAM STAFF MARK DAFFORN, Study Director NOEL D. VIETMEYER, Consulting Author and Scientific Editor F. R. RUSKIN, Editor (through 1994) ELIZABETH MOUZON, Senior Secretary (through 1994) DON OSBORN, MUCIA Intern (1994) BRENT SIMPSON, MUCIA Intern (1993) MOLLY MUGNOLO, MUCIA Intern (1992)
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III CONTRIBUTORS More than 1,000 people have participated in the National Research Council’s overall study of the crops of Africa. Most contributed by nominating species of grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, oilseeds, spices, sweeteners, and beverage plants they deemed worthy of inclusion. All those individuals played a part in developing this, the third product from the study. The following list, however, includes especially the ones who provided technical details that became incorporated into chapters of this particular book. To all contributors, listed and unlisted, we are truly grateful. AFRICA PAUL O. ANEGBEH, ICRAF-IITA-IFAD Agroforestry Project, Onne, Nigeria NEREE ONGUENE AWANA, Tropenbos Cameroon Programme, Kribi, Cameroon SALOMAO BANDEIRA, Department of Biological Sciences, Universidade EDOUARD G. BONKOUNGOU, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso PHILIP BOTMA, ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, South Africa DOMINIC BYARUGABA, Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, Kampala, Uganda EBBY CHAGALA, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya AUGUSTINE CHARLES CHIKUNI, National Herbarium & Botanic Gardens of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi LOU COETZER, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa ROY DANFORTH, Loko Agroforestry Program, Congo IDRISSA DICKO, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso EDMOND DOUNIAS, CNRS, Montpellier, France PIERRE DU PLESSIS, CRIAA SA-DC, Windhoek, Namibia ROSEMARY DU PREEZ, ARC-Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops, Nelspruit, South Africa HERMAN ELS, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa KLAUS FLEISSNER, Mahene Research Station, Ombalantu, Namibia BERNARD FOAHOM, Tropenbos Cameroon Programme, Kribi, Cameroon FRANCIS N. GACHATHI, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya BARBARA GEMMILL, University of Nairobi and Environment Liaison Center International, Nairobi, Kenya VELDIE VAN GREUNING, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa CORI HAM, Department of Forest Science, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, South Africa MARLISE JOUBERT, ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch, South Africa
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III ROBERT KAITHO, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya DAVID KENFACK, Limbe Botanic Garden, Limbe, Cameroon JOSEPH KENGUE, IRAD, Yaounde, Cameroon HERTA KOLBERG, National Plant Genetic Resources Centre, Windhoek, Namibia DAVID O. LADIPO, CENRAD, Jericho Hills, Ibadan, Nigeria PETER LOVETT, Meteo. Services Department, Legon, Accra, Ghana GILLIAN MAGGS-KÖLLING, National Botanical Research Institute, Windhoek, Namibia COLEEN MANNHEIMER, National Herbarium, Windhoek, Namibia HENK MAST, Eden Foundation, Zinder, Niger STANLEY MATEKE, Veld Products Research & Development, Gaborone, Botswana OSCAR EYOG MATIG, IPGRI/Sub-Saharan Forest Genetic Resources Programme, Cotonou, Benin PATRICK MAUNDU, Kenya Resource Center For Indigenous Knowledge, The National Museum Of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya EDUARDO MONDLANE, Maputo, Mozambique J. MULLER, Ben Hur Rural Development Center, Gobabis, Namibia MOSES MUNJUGA, ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya LUSAYO MWABUMBA, Mzuzu University, Luwinga, Mzuzu, Malawi MOUHOUSSINE NACRO, Laboratoire de Chemie Organique appliquee, Ouagadougou University, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso C. K. MWAMBA, National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research, Lusaka, Zambia OUSSEYNOU NDOYE, CIFOR Regional Office, Yaounde, Cameroon MZOMA R NGULUBE, SADC FSTCU, Forestry Department Headquarters, Lilongwe, Malawi AMADOU NIANG, SLWA/ICRAF, Bamako, Mali ALBERT NIKIEMA, CNSF, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso PAUL NOREN, Loko Agroforestry Program, Congo J.C. OBIEFUNA, Department of Crop Production, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria JONATHON C. OKAFOR, Tree Crops and Tropical Ecology Consultants, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria DOV PASTERNAK, ICRISAT Sahelian Center, Niamey, Niger PETER PHILLIPSON, Botany Department, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa NAT & PATRICIA QUANSAH, Morondava Centre, Morondava, Madagascar SIDY SANOGO, Programme Ressources Forestières Sikasso, Mali HABY SANOU, Programme Ressources Forestières Sotuba, Bamako, Mali PIETER SCHMIDT, Tropenbos Cameroon Programme, Kribi, Cameroon DAOUDA SIDIBE, Programme Ressources Forestières Sotuba, Bamako, Mali MODIBO M. SIDIBE, Institut d’economie Rurale, Bamako, Mali THOMAS SILOU, Centre IRD, Pointe-Noire, Congo FRANK W. TAYLOR, Veld Products Consultancies, Gaborone, Botswana
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III JONATHAN TIMBERLAKE, Biodiversity Foundation for Africa, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe OTLOGETSWE TOTOLO, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana BRAMA TRAORÉ, Imama, Tlemcen, Algeria SHEONA SHACKLETON, Environmental Science Programme, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa LOVEMORE SIMWANDA, Zambia National Farmers’ Union, Lusaka, Zambia HARRY C. VAN DEN BURG, Umlimi Lokhonile Seeds, Malkerns, Swaziland A.E. VAN WYK, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa B. NIGEL WOLSTENHOLME, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa HAROUNA YOSSI, Programme Ressources Forestières, Sikasso, Mali OTHER REGIONS MICHAEL BENGE, Africa Program Coordinator, International Programs, USDA Forest Service, Washington DC, USA ALIZA BENZIONI, Institute for Agriculture and Applied Biology, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel ANTHONY B. CUNNINGHAM, Department of Botany, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii FRIEDA RAPOPORT CAPLAN, Frieda’s, Inc., Los Alamitos, California, USA J. MICHAEL FAY, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York, USA JEFFREY A. GRITZNER, Department of Geography, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, USA JOHN HALL, School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, Wales, UK NAZMUL HAQ, International Centre for Underutilised Crops, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK DAVID B HARPER, Food and Agricultural Chemistry Department, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, UK JACQUE HUIGNARD, Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France RENEÉ HUTCHINGS, M. I. Exotics, Te Puke, New Zealand MOLLY JAHN, Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA NORGE W. JEROME, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, Kansas, USA SARAH LAIRD, New York, New York, USA ROGER LEAKEY, School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia RUTH MALLESON, Dunsmore, Buckinghamshire, UK JAMES MCCREIGHT, USDA-ARS, Salinas, California, USA SAMUEL MENDLINGER, Institute for Agriculture & Applied Biology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III LAURA C. MERRICK, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA YOSEF MIZRAHI, Institutes for Applied Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel JOHN K. MORRIS, Tauranga, New Zealand JULIA K. MORTON, Morton Collectanea, Coral Gables, Florida AVINOAM NERD, Institute for Agriculture and Applied Biology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel DONALD OSBORN, Peace Corps, Washington, DC, USA CHRISTEL PALMBERG-LERCHE, Forestry Department, FAO, Rome, Italy CHRIS ROLLINS, Fruit & Spice Park, Homestead, Florida, USA VASSILIOS SARAFIS, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia JOHN SCHEURING, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, Basel, Switzerland KATE SCHRECKENBERG, Forest Policy and Environment Group, Overseas Development Institute, London, UK HENRY SHANDS, USDA-ARS-National Seed Storage Lab, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA BRENT SIMPSON, Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA ELAINE M SOLOWEY, Kebbutz Ketura, Hevel-Eilot, Israel CLAUDE SWEET, San Diego, California, USA DUNCAN THOMAS, Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA HAN VAN DIJK, Department of Environmental Science, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands TODD C. WEHNER, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III PREFACE This book is one of a series identifying innovations with promise for improving the quality of life in the earth’s poorest regions. Like its predecessors—more than 30 reports extending over 30 years—it combines the knowledge of experienced individuals into a study crafted to provide insights, particularly for decision-makers at every level from the farm and village to the nation and beyond. This volume draws special attention to Africa’s traditional fruits. Specifically, it emphasizes 24 cultivated and wild resources that seem useful for diversifying food supplies and improving nutrition across the hungriest continent. Why such a seemingly obvious examination is needed results from a peculiar situation. Within the huge hungry zones below the Sahara are to be found several thousand native food plants, almost none of which have been given research or technical support. Plants that have fed people for millennia go largely or wholly without scientific or development attention today, even as millions in their midst suffer chronic malnutrition and related ills. We call such neglected riches the “lost crops of Africa.” Among these forgotten foods a significant fraction are fruits. By highlighting a small selection we hope these pages demonstrate not only the potential latent in these few, but also inherent in the full array of Africa’s indigenous edibles. It is important to understand our use of the word “lost.” As in the case of “lost cities,” such as Zimbabwe, this is a word applying to an outsider’s perspective. The foods described here are not truly lost; indeed, in many locations many are beloved companions, especially by rural populations. It is the mainstream of international science and people beyond the rural regions that remain unaware of the resources described here. This book is the third in a study highlighting the promise inherent in the food plants indigenous to Africa. Each presents information useful to help a continent where millions confront severe and interlocking problems stemming from difficulties in food production and food distribution. The first volume, published in 1996, covered a dozen grains: African Rice (Oryza glabberima) Finger Millet (Eleusine coracana) Fonio (Digitaria exilis and D. iburua) Pearl Millet (Pennisetum species) Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) Tef (Eragrostis tef) Other cultivated grains (Brachiaria, Triticum, Paspalum, etc.) Wild grains (Echinochloa, Paspalum, etc.).
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III A NOTE ON TERMS Throughout this book the word “Africa” always refers to Africa south of the Sahara. Similarly, “African plants” always refers to sub-Saharan species, omitting North African plants, which in reality belong to the Mediterranean-Near East complex. Since the book is written more for citizens than for scientists, we refer to the fruits by common names. Mostly, we use English names, except where those might imply that a plant pertains to a single social group or locale (e.g., Natal plum). Such epithets can spark resentment among others who might also reasonably regard a crop with equal passion, patriotism, or their own proprietary feelings. In a few cases we have not hesitated to feature a minor but mellifluous name. Our focus is the future, and a grating or quixotic name can discourage furtherance of an otherwise great fruit. Lists of common names are also included in many chapters. These are representative rather than exhaustive. In some cases almost every valley or village uses its own word. Nutritional values are presented on a dry-weight basis, unless noted otherwise, to eliminate moisture differences between samples. Many of these figures were derived by obsolete methods or are otherwise tentative. Modern techniques can be rapid, accurate, and inexpensive, and should be applied to all these plants. Although for sake of simplicity we sometimes refer to vitamin A, readers should understand that within the fruit it occurs disguised as provitamin A carotenoids. These nutrients are converted to vitamin A in the body, but precise modern measures for these fruits are rare and conversion factors vary. The fruits considered are those that are eaten in the normal way. Botanically speaking, coffee is also an African fruit but—even were it still “lost”—its form of usage puts it beyond our scope. In the same light, the miracle fruit, a headline-happy African species that contains a fascinating non-caloric sweetener, is excluded. Finally, there is the unique case of akee, a fruit much-beloved in West Africa and Jamaica. We have omitted it on the basis that use requires an intimate understanding of the ripening cycle of its fresh arils, both unripe and over-ripe fruits being poisonous. For certain non-African crops we have employed internationally recognizable names. Examples include peanut for groundnut, papaya for pawpaw, and cassava for manioc. This is because this book will likely be read by people of influence in regions far beyond Africa’s shores.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III A WORD TO READERS Everyone who works with plants assumes responsibilities. Some species described in this report—especially those which are less than domesticated—may be invasive or pestiferous outside their natural environs, and thus require due caution and on-going scientific assessment after introduction. Unless professionally inspected, they may also carry along unseen pests and diseases (particularly small insects and microbes such as virus or bacteria) whose populations might explode catastrophically in new locations. In addition, plant genes and germplasm are subject worldwide to both tangible- and intellectual-property laws; these legal rights hold especially true for food plants in which others—whether farmers or financiers—have already invested thought and labor or capital. For these reasons, most nations have official protocols based on intergovernmental conventions governing the safe and legitimate transfer of plant materials. These protect both people and the environment, and are rarely any obstacle to helpful activities. In the best interest of all parties, it is crucial that the requirements of such protocols be strictly followed.2 2 Assurances may include at least a phytosanitary certificate and a written statement of consent (such as a material transfer agreement), and often a collection permit as well. Phytosanitary requirements for your country can be found by contacting your National Plant Protection Organization, listed on the website of the International Plant Protection Convention at www.ippc.int. Detailed information on proper access to genetic resources in conformity with the Convention on Biological Diversity can be found via www.biodiv.org.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III FOREWORD These pages highlight a collection of food plants that may seem to be just fruits. In reality, however, they are multipurpose assets for relieving problems across the vast and troubled landmass lying below the Sahara. The plights these fruits might lessen include hunger, malnutrition, rural poverty, devastation from unsustainable land practices, and their often-added burdens for women, mothers, and children. Even the suffering caused by fearsome disease might, to some extent, be relieved. Such claims will perhaps seem overblown to the uninitiated. After all, the following pages portray mere plants. But consider this: the 24 resources highlighted here produce food of a particularly nutritious kind. Being fruits, they are among the priciest foodstuffs, many come from long-lived trees that protect land, and most are raised, harvested, and sold by women. Furthermore, in a continent beset by infectious diseases, the nutrients that come from fruits can boost general health, strengthen immunity, and help reduce the burden of disease. For such reasons, all fruits should be larger contributors to Africa’s diet. The advantage of the indigenous species we describe is that they are of African origin. These ancient foods evolved with humans as our ancestors ate their ancestors. The African landscape is already shaped by humanity preferentially selecting for these species. Local origins are not, however, an unmitigated blessing. For one thing, it means that, with two glaring exceptions, these fruits are essentially unknown to those around the globe who most influence research priorities and funding decisions. For another, local pests and diseases have spent millennia perfecting their penetration of the plants’ defenses. These limitations, while substantial, are also manageable, and local fruits offer strong reinforcements for Africa’s food security. When confronting the enormous challenge of helping sub-Saharan nations, outsiders—even those motivated by the best of intentions—hardly know where to start. The continent’s problems seem impossibly complex—so intertwined and so overwhelming that there seems no place to even begin to build a solid base for solutions. This book, however, identifies a wealth of entry points through which leverage can be exerted on several societal problems at once. Improving the plantings and productivity of baobab, to take a single example, would improve not just the rural landscape but also the social landscape, economic landscape, and even the topography of human health. Moreover, the improvement of baobab is a practical matter well within the capability of plant lovers, horticulturists, philanthropists, activists, educators, entrepreneurs and—most of all—innovative inhabitants of the lands where baobab trees thrive.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III For such reasons African fruits deserve the scrutiny of science, but most of all they need the esteem and support of those who are not scientifically trained. Politicians and administrative authorities especially, in Africa and abroad, have yet to realize how much fruits can contribute to nutrition, to health, and to the general uplift in spirit that makes any nation, region, or continent great. Africa’s fruits can provide minerals and vitamins in locally available and attractive forms. They provide variety to the diet and taste buds, thereby enhancing the monotonous staples the impoverished masses endure day in and day out. They provide resources for small-scale horticultural enterprises and home gardens that represent a safety net for the rural regions and a prime means for raising income and relieving poverty in locales needing those most. Beyond all that, fruit trees hold fragile lands together, combating such encroaching calamities as deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, desertification, urban blight, and perhaps even climate change. Not many people willfully cut down a fruit tree, and that fact of life could and should be capitalized upon for the common good. Such possibilities undergird this book’s perspective. It is hoped that in the years to come fruits will increasingly contribute to the personal welfare of African peoples. Already, consumers worldwide are demanding ever more fresh produce, further increasing the pressures on, and potentials for, the kinds of plants we describe. The native fruits have a lot of catching up to do. But that is hardly Africa’s own fault. In part or perhaps in main, the woeful neglect reflects international priorities of past decades. Those priorities were not unjustified: Near-miraculous rises in the quantities of wheat and rice in Asia probably staved off as big a famine as humanity ever faced. But a shortage of staples no longer limits most food supplies. The time for “quality foods” has come, and they especially strengthen “subsistence” economies. Being among the highest quality foods, fruits (and of course vegetables, too) seem likely to lead a rising tide of new and improved sustenance for a better-fed humanity. Nowhere is that trend more important than in the nations whose underexploited resources we describe. And their indigenous fruits offer a wealth of opportunities for progress. Yet the next steps demand neither grandiose government enterprises nor massive international interventions. The advancement of local fruits can be jump-started by community initiatives as well as pioneers who undertake such tasks as: Locating superior varieties; Developing growth, harvest, and maintenance routines; Improving storage, handling, packing, and packaging to improve market acceptability and reduce devastating losses; Instituting standards and controls that improve quality, even to the level demanded by exports; Increasing individual and institutional awareness;
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III Opening supplies to competition, fostering the vital price differentials that induce growers to excel; or Developing markets and the infrastructure (physical, legal, and mental) to compete locally and perhaps even internationally. Of all these steps, the first—locating the best varieties—represents the key. Any undeveloped species tends to produce fruits varying in taste, size, appearance, texture, and proportions (including thick skins, large seeds, and thin flesh). Any undeveloped species also tends to produce fruits varying in horticultural qualities such as disease resistance or response to care and extreme conditions. One of the most vital and rewarding activities is to seek out the individual specimens with the largest number of desirable qualities. With those in hand, selection, clonal propagation, and other horticultural manipulations can quickly transform a plant’s prospects for commerce and for national nutrition.3 It should not be thought that such advances must be restricted to prestigious researchers or plant-science specialists. Surprisingly few of the premier fruits of the Western world were developed by scholars; most are the products of farmers, horticulturalists, and amateurs.4 In Africa there is a vast constituency of motivated plant lovers and activists to pursue similar goals. These currently untapped thousands include farmers and growers themselves, amateur horticulturists, village leaders, anthropologists, home economics specialists, doctors and public health professionals, nutritionists, entrepreneurs, missionaries, philanthropists, students, school children, school teachers, foresters, environmental activists, landowners, and fruit-loving citizens of all regions and responsibilities. Such, then, is the wide audience this book hopes to reach. Furthering the understanding and greater use of native fruits provides opportunities for contributions by people of passion and persuasion, wherever they might be and whatever their place in life. It is especially hoped individuals positioned to help Africa get on its feet will find motivation. There is, of course, a special place for advanced science in this humanitarian service, starting with Africa’s trained agriculturists, for whom these fruits (and vegetables) provide an unparalleled opportunity to advance their regions and their careers. Research is particularly needed for 3 An example of this is the kiwifruit, which arose as a crop after a New Zealand grower noticed a single plant with double-sized fruits. Before that Actinidia deliciosa was a tiny wild berry of China with little future in formal cultivation. 4 For instance, the current "standard" avocado (‘Hass’) was discovered by the children of a mail carrier who, in the 1920s, was starting a small grove in the hills outside Los Angeles, USA. Unable to afford trees that were already grafted, he planted seedlings of unknown pedigree as rootstock, and then grafted the then-dominate ‘Fuerte’ variety onto them all. All the grafts took but on one seedling. He intended to chop it down but his children loved the flavor of its fruits so much he was persuaded to save it and, today, almost all of California’s avocado comes from that single rogue seedling of Mr. Hass.
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III overcoming pests and diseases that suppress yields and destroy or disfigure the harvests. A key problem in Africa, as elsewhere, is that mammals, birds, insects, microbes, and other fruit-lovers seek to consume production before people can. The application of current biological knowledge could greatly boost the production and protection of traditional fruits, yet this is just one pressing and compelling arena: Virtually no aspect of these fruits has been touched by science. The separate chapters identify specific areas for incisive applied research, much of which can be undertaken now, with little cost, by small groups or individuals. It seems especially noteworthy that the age-old foods described in the chapters ahead also offer practical new opportunities for developing regional cooperation among African states. These plants are a starter to catalyze collaboration in research as well as development, growth, and trade. As such, they should be regarded as a neglected resource for helping all the continent’s inhabitants. Africa’s “lost” fruits provide the possibility for advancing common interests continent-wide. Noel Vietmeyer Consulting Author and Scientific Editor
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III Contents Part 1- Cultivated Fruits Introduction 1 Summaries of Individual Species 3 Table 1: Potential Roles for Selected Cultivated African Fruits 7 Overcoming Malnutrition 8 Boosting Food Security 11 Fostering Rural Development 14 Sustainable Landcare 18 Descriptions and Assessments of Individual Species 1 Balanites (Balanites aegyptiaca) 23 2 Baobab (Adansonia digitata) 41 3 Butterfruit (Dacryodes edulis) 61 4 Carissa (Carissa species) 77 5 Horned Melon (Cucumis metulifer) 89 6 Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra) 103 7 Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) 117 8 Melon (Cucumis melo) 135 9 Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) 149 10 Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) 165
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III Part 2- Wild Fruits Introduction 185 Summaries of Individual Species 189 Table 2: Potential Roles for Selected Wild African Fruits 194 Overcoming Malnutrition 195 Boosting Food Security 199 Fostering Rural Development 203 Sustainable Landcare 207 Wild Fruit Issues Increasing Wild Fruit Usage 211 Developing Wild Fruits 212 Nutrition 214 Sustainable Forestry 215 Social Difficulties 216 Descriptions and Assessments of Individual Species 1 Aizen (Mukheit) (Boscia species) 221 2 Chocolate Berries (Vitex species) 235 3 Custard Apples (Annona species) 243 4 Ebony (Diospyros species) 253 5 Gingerbread Plums (Parinari and kindred genera) 263 6 Gumvines (Landolphia and Saba species) 271 7 Icacina (Icacina species) 281 8 Imbe (Garcinia livingstonii) 291 9 Medlars (Vangueria species) 301 10 Monkey Oranges (Strychnos species) 309 11 Star Apples (Chrysophyllum and related genera) 317 12 Sugarplums (Uapaca species) 325 13 Sweet Detar (Detarium senegalense) 331 14 Tree Grapes (Lannea species) 339 Biographical Sketches of Panel Members 347 Credits 351
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Lost Crops of Africa: Fruits, Volume III LOST CROPS of AFRICA volume III part 1 Cultivated Fruits
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