Trees for food and fodder
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CTA. 1993. Trees for food and fodder. Spore 47. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49228
When farmers in northern Nigeria clear their fields for planting there are two medium-sized trees that are never cut down: the locust bean trees Parkia clappertonia and Parkia filicoidea. Scientists are now confirming what local farmers have long...
When farmers in northern Nigeria clear their fields for planting there are two medium-sized trees that are never cut down: the locust bean trees Parkia clappertonia and Parkia filicoidea. Scientists are now confirming what local farmers have long known, namely that both species provide important food for farming families and their livestock, and do not interfere with crop production. In Nigeria's northern savannah regions both species are common in the woodlands of the relatively moist Guinea zones and also m the dryer Sudan zone to the north. Both species attain maximum heights of 33 metres with a sparse crown that allows light to penetrate to grass or crops below. The two Parkia species have tap roots that allow the trees to access nutrients and water from the deeper layers of soil thus minimizing competition with adjacent crops. In the southern and northern Guinea zones crops of tobacco, sesame, guinea corn, groundnut, millet, maize, yams, cassava and cocoyams are grown under both species of Parkia; whilst further north in the Sudan zone crops of groundnut, cowpea, cotton and ginger grow under Parkia clappertonia. Farmers preserve these trees largely for their nutritious seeds and pods. The seeds contain about 30% crude protein, 20% fatty acids in a semi-liquid oil 5.3% ash and 3.8% crude fibre. The yellow mealy pulp in the pods provides a carbohydrate used by the Hausa people in soups or stews. The seeds and pods ripen during the dry season between March and September, when other sources of food and livestock fodder are scarce in the region. The two Parkia species have many valuable traits for an agroforestry system. An additional benefit Is their good fire resistance, which is useful in a region where fields and pastures are burned once or twice a year to remove dead grass. Dr Ojating Ichire Forestry Department University of Calabar Okuku Campus PMB 1219 Ogoja Cross River State NIGERIA