One tree, many uses
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 2007. One tree, many uses. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57269
How fruit trees can give more than just the fruits.
One tree, many uses Cue: The most obvious advantage of indigenous fruit trees is their delicious fruit. There is the sweet juicy mango, or the tasty fig. But when talking to France Gondwe of ICRAF in Malawi, Excello Zidana discovered that the list of uses for indigenous fruit trees goes on, and on and on. He mentions some of the many things that fruit trees can provide, but he also talks about the vulnerable status of many of the fruit trees indigenous to Africa. With the introduction of more and more exotic fruit trees, they may not be so common place in the future. So why try to preserve them? IN: ?Apart from fruits which can be eaten?? OUT: ?about the use of indigenous trees.? DUR?N: 5?23? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: That was France Gondwe of ICRAF in Malawi encouraging us to plant and cultivate our indigenous fruit trees by spreading the word about their uses. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Gondwe Apart from fruits which can be eaten for a snack or even for a meal, indigenous trees can also be used as shade trees. They can be planted along homesteads for shade trees, and also for ornamental. We have small hardwood indigenous trees from light construction, like in sheds of tobacco. They can also be used for long term construction, like palm tress, they are used for bridges. There are fig trees which can be used for canoe digging. There are a lot of purposes ? conservation of water shed, for fodder for livestock, fruit processing. There are a lot of purposes, or a lot of benefits. Zidana And do you believe that these fruit trees have any economic importance that one can actually buy a car? Gondwe Yes. A car? In the African context we talk of a cow, or cattle! Because indigenous fruit trees can be processed into fruit juices for example. Somebody can make a lot of money within a short time from processing our indigenous fruit trees like baobab, like tamarindus. So it is very easy to make a lot of income from indigenous fruit trees. Zidana Can farmers improve the soil fertility in their gardens by planting indigenous fruit trees? Gondwe Yes they can do that. There are some fruit trees which have a bearing on the improvement of the soil. It can help in soil conservation, so that will automatically improve the soil. The leaves which are falling can be used for, especially these fruit trees which have high nitrogen content in their leaves. Zidana Let?s talk of a palm tree, what can a farmer get from the palm tree? Gondwe I can only talk of the common palm tree which is at my home for example, which gives a lot of pulp which we as children used to take the nut, you can eat the nut, but the leaves of the palm tree are also used for weaving and the wood of the palm tree is also used for construction of the houses, the roofs and those are long term constructions. The whole palm or half of the palm can be put as a bridge on a footpath. Zidana And of all these trees you have mentioned, which ones are the most adaptable to the regions? Gondwe All the indigenous fruit trees are adaptable to the region. If you say they are indigenous then they are adaptable because they have been there for all the years. So what we should be differentiating is, where are these adaptable? So we have fig tree, adapted to wetter parts or along the rivers. But there are also trees which are adapted to the dry areas like baobab and like tamarindus. If they are planted in the right areas they will be adapted to the whole region. Zidana During problems like droughts, when you look at the two species, the exotic one and the indigenous fruit trees, do you see any difference in terms of performance, production, when there is drought? Gondwe Yes, the indigenous fruit trees will perform better when there is drought. Most of these exotic fruit trees rely on high water injections, but indigenous fruit trees will do very well even if there is a drought. Of course they will also do much better when there is good moisture. Zidana There is a general fear that these trees may go for good because many people use firewood for cooking in their homes. What do you think should be done to make sure that these species are maintained and preserved? Gondwe Farmers who have already seen the value of indigenous fruit trees should start planting these trees. Because the problem will be extinction of these indigenous fruit trees and then the countries are over-run by the exotic ones. But ones a problem comes, like a pest or like a disease, then we have a problem that exotic ones might be extinct within a short time. Zidana Do you see any improvement on soil fertility improvement, as well as the environment in general when people start planting indigenous fruit trees in their homes? Gondwe Yes at ICRAF we would encourage farmers to plant indigenous fruit trees. For soil fertility yes, but also for the environment in general. We have tamarindus which is a fertility improving tree, so that can be planted within the farm, by dispersing it within the farm or along the boundaries, around the contours. But we also encourage planting trees in contours or along places where degradation is happening. Fruit trees can be used to preserve the environment or to improve the soil in a lot of ways. We have talked about shade, ornamental, construction, and a lot of economic benefits. Therefore I would encourage all of us to start planting indigenous fruits, to start conserving indigenous fruits and to start training each other or giving information to other about the use of indigenous trees. End of track.