Fruit, fodder and fuel
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CTA. 2001. Fruit, fodder and fuel. Spore 96. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46362
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore96.pdf
Masau fruit or ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) is no stranger in many ACP countries. The tree is believed to originate from south Asia, but can be found throughout Africa, and in the Caribbean on Barbados, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and Martinique. Despite its...
Masau fruit or ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) is no stranger in many ACP countries. The tree is believed to originate from south Asia, but can be found throughout Africa, and in the Caribbean on Barbados, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and Martinique. Despite its name, some of its properties and possibilities are not widely known. With good reason the International Centre for Underutilised Crops has included the masau tree in its first set of publications on underutilised crops. The masau is a multipurpose tree, used for hedges and inter-cropping; its leaves serve as animal fodder and its hardwood timber is well-suited for agricultural implements, building and charcoal. Relatively unknown is the fruit s high vitamin C content - much higher than citrus - and its high phosphorous, carotene and calcium content. The leaves also provide an excellent source of vitamins C and A. To top it all, the tree is drought resistant, salt tolerant and thrives on poor soils. But the masau might not be underutilised much longer. Rural communities in Rushinga, Zimbabwe, have started to grow the tree commercially for its fruit, with support of the Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources (SAFIRE). Masau jam is already sold in Zimbabwean supermarkets, through the company Tulimara Speciality Foods of Africa Ltd. The company started producing masau jam some years ago with fruit from pickers but will now also use semi-processed fruits from the Rushinga communities. Trained by SAFIRE, they clean the fruit and extract the juice, thus earning more than if they were selling it raw. [caption to illustration] The jam is heavenly, and rich in vitamin C