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CTA. 2008. Mighty baobab. Agfax Resource Pack. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57253
The baobab tree has been used by man as a source of food and other materials for tens of thousands of years. In some parts of Africa, such as northern Ghana, the leaves, seeds and fruit pulp are a vitamin rich supplement to diets, particularly during the hungry season. The roots are also valued for their medicinal properties and there is growing interest in baobab products in the European market. As such, baobab deserves attention, having potential for adding value, processing and exporting of products, thereby boosting local economies.
Mighty baobab Professor Gordana Kanjac-Berisavljevic Sustainable Land Management, Ghana Suggested introduction Of all African trees, perhaps the baobab is the most wonderful. These mighty trees can live for as long as five thousand years. The baobab has provided us with food for generations. In fact its seeds were found in the stomach of a man who lived on earth thirty thousand years ago. This shows that this tree has long been an important source of food. But despite its long history, eating the baobab has been going out of fashion. However there are signs it is making a comeback, with growing demand in European markets and in semi-arid areas of Africa. Professor Gordana is team leader of a sustainable land management project in northern Ghana. She is enthusiastic about baobab, and she explained to Benedict Komba where in Ghana, and when, the baobab is especially important. Track 3 In ?In northern parts of Ghana? Out ?improve life of the rural people.? Duration 4?04? Suggested closing announcement: A report on the baobab tree, which has many uses and can live for more than 5000 years. Contact details: Professor Gordana Kanjac-Berisavljevic Vice-Dean Faculty of Agriculture University for Development Studies, Tamale, P.O.Box TL 1882 N, Ghana Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Transcript Berisavljevic In northern parts of Ghana very close to Burkina Faso there is a hungry period every year between January and June. A hungry season means that people subsist on two meals a day and they reduce to only one. It is in June, towards the end, that early millet is harvested and then the diet improves but before that period it is really very difficult and people collect products from the wild. Komba How can baobab help to feed people in Ghana? Berisavljevic We have evidence of research for over seventy years that in these particular poor rural communities baobab is always used to support feeding, as part of the diet in this hungry season. This is when all parts of the baobab tree are used to supplement the diet. Komba May you describe the nutrients that can be available in baobab? Berisavljevic Baobab is very rich in vitamins. It is now increasingly becoming a medicinal plant. The European market is highly interested in imports of baobab and there are already very strict regulations on what baobab products are to be imported. Particularly interesting is the pulp from the fruit, which is dried and used in a variety of energy drinks, snacks. Komba And if a person wants to know how does a baobab tree look like, how can you describe it? Berisavljevic It is probably the largest tree in your environment, it can be five metres wide and it is very old. It normally, some people describe it as having roots upside, up in the air, when there are no leaves on it. It can live up to 5,000 years and is generally available everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa in drier environment. Komba Which parts of the baobab are mostly used? Berisavljevic In our communities where I did my study people use everything, they use each and every part of the tree. The bark is used as the firewood for local beer production. Roots are used for medicinal and spiritual purposes. The fresh leaves are used as a sauce, dry leaves are sold, fruit is eaten fresh as a snack. Pulp is dried and then added to the local staple food, and seeds are cracked and mixed with the local leafy vegetable. So there is really no part that is not useful in the traditional system. Komba If we come to the fruits themselves, how do they look like? Are they so big or so small and what about their seeds? Berisavljevic They are not too big, they are not too small, their size is maybe comparable to the smaller types of papaya in size. And they are a little bit difficult to crack but inside is a delicious pulp, which especially children like as a snack. That pulp surrounds seeds which are more or less black and then they are also used. Komba And how do the seeds or the fruits taste? Berisavljevic They taste very nice. They can be added to ice cream, and then the people also use it for porridge, for traditional meals and so on. Nobody complains about the baobab flavour! It is very nice. Komba It seems that this baobab is among those neglected plants, so what do you do in your country to popularise it? Berisavljevic Yes we are trying to show people that they can add value and process and export this product because there is a lot of market and then that will probably improve life of the rural people. End of track.