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CTA. 2008. Social aspects. Agfax Resource Pack. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57330
Traditional crops often have cultural significance beyond their value as a source of food. In southern Africa, marula fruit are traditionally harvested by women, and there are special ceremonies during the harvesting season. In northern Ghana, yams have cultural and spiritual significance and are only grown by men. Four researchers discuss the social significance of traditional food plants in Africa and Central America.
Social aspects of neglected crops Erika Vohman, Oladele Idowu, Gordana Kranjac-Berisavljevic and Gus Le Breton Suggested introduction We use plants for very many different reasons: as food, to make money or in cultural ceremonies. It is the social aspects of plants, particularly the ones that are now neglected, that are often overlooked. Coming up, four people - working in Latin America, West Africa and southern Africa - share the stories of farmers who have decided to spend time in their gardens, farms and forests to nurture plants that are considered neglected. Track 5 In ?My name is Erika Vohman ? Out ?.we still have a very, very long way to go.? Duration 6?39? Suggested closing announcement: Those voices on the value and potential of neglected crops were brought to you by Eric Kadenge. Contact details: Erika Vohman, The Equilibrium Fund , PO Box 2371, Crested Butte,Colorado 81224, USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Oladimeji Idowu Oladele, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Email: email@example.com Gus le Breton, PhytoTrade Africa (the Southern African Natural Products Trade Association) PO Box BE 385, Belvedere, Harare, Zimbabwe, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Professor Gordana Kanjac-Berisavljevic, Vice-Dean Faculty of Agriculture, University for Development Studies, Tamale, P.O.Box TL 1882 N, Ghana, Email:email@example.com Transcript Vohman My name is Erika Vohman. I am the Founder and Executive Director of the Equilibrium Fund. The maya nut tree is one of the largest trees in the rainforest. It grows to be about 45 metres tall. It is one of the most important species for biodiversity. Almost all the wildlife in the rainforest eat the maya nut seed and it also happens to be a nutritious, delicious and native food that can be harvested by rural communities for food and income. Oladele I am Oladele O Idowu from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I work on neglected food crops, contribution to household food security and health among rural dwellers in the rural states of Nigeria. Bitter Kola is found on farmlands and then at some other times is propagated and once it starts fruiting a lot of fruit can be obtained and it has a very long shelf life. Berisavljevic My name is Gordana Kranjac-Berisavljevic and I work with the University for Development Studies in northern Ghana in the savannah area where a lot of neglected crops are grown. There are two interesting crops. One is African rice, Oryza glaberrima which is grown mostly by women in the northern part of Ghana and then also processed by women. It is a major women?s industry. The second interesting crop is yam which is grown solely by men. Le Breton My name is Gus Le Breton, I am from PhytoTrade Africa which is the Southern African Natural Products Trade Association and I am based in Zimbabwe. A species that we have been working with for the last several years is marula, and the marula tree is found, it is spread all over Africa but particular concentrations in southern Africa and it is a traditional fruit which is harvested mostly by women for eating and also for brewing beer. Vohman The women of Central America and Mexico are able to harvest the seed from the maya nut tree and use that for food and also as a source of income. Oladele Households are generally involved because apart from the propagated ones, most of these are trees that have been there for years so they serve a purpose for the household because maybe it is located on the family land, on individual land and even sometimes on individual land there are other parts of the family or the household that can still lay claim to it. Berisavljevic People grow yam not necessarily only for commercial reasons but for various cultural, spiritual and religious reasons and they strongly believe that women can only sell yam but they cannot cultivate it because traditional knowledge is embodied in it. It has also to do with the social structure where, as you grow older, you gradually learn more and more about how to cultivate yam. Le Breton In Namibia, for the women in northern Namibia, it is a very big deal every year when they harvest marula. It is a business that is pretty much exclusively controlled by women. In many countries in southern Africa there is a very high cultural value associated with the species and there are special marula ceremonies during the harvesting season which is about two or three months, January, February, March. Vohman Most of the women in Central America and Mexico that are working with the maya nut are marketing it locally, because they are not so interested in dealing with all the paperwork and legalities involved in export. Oladele Women are still able to market and get income but essentially the household benefits from these crops in terms of the consumption of the crops and then incomes that they are able to make from it. Most of the leaves or the fruits that are harvested are taken to local markets for sale, and income derived can be used in paying school fees, for social meetings and for some other things. Berisavljevic Increasingly yam is exported from Ghana to the foreign markets and specially to diaspora. There are a lot of Ghanaians living all around the world. Much more yam is grown for domestic use, it is grown for social reasons, like there are special big types of yam that you give to your father-in-law. Le Breton They formed a cooperative and they have built their own factory and they have oil processing facilities at this factory. So the producers sell the kernel to the cooperative, the cooperative processes it into oil and the oil is then sold through export channels to international cosmetic companies. Vohman I think when we are working with underutilised species and also with rural communities it is important to be very patient because rural communities are often in a process of development. It is as much as a personal development as economic development, and personal human development can often be very slow, especially when communities are not used to taking charge of their lives. Oladele Things that are regarded useless or weeds or unusable can tapped into, either as human foods or animal feeds or things like that. Berisavljevic There are many more crops we should grow than those we are actually using and probably the culture and the social set up of people has a major role to play and we should try to promote what we locally have. Le Breton I think the key lesson is not to rush into it, not to try to do too many things at once, keep it simple, work in a steady direction towards a single goal and ultimately we can achieve tremendous things. Because this marula for example, one day we might be able to sell two or three thousand tonnes of marula oil a year, into the cosmetics industry but at the moment we are selling probably less than ten tonnes a year. So we still have a very, very long way to go. End of track.