Study: African fruit is untapped resource

January 31, 2008

A report suggests native African fruits are an untapped resource that could help combat malnutrition and boost rural development on the African continent.

The U.S. National Research Council said African science institutes, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and individuals could use modern horticultural knowledge and scientific research to bring "lost crops" such as baobab, marula, and butterfruit to their full potential.

The report said current tropical fruit production in Africa is dominated by species introduced from Asia and the Americas, such as bananas, pineapples, and papayas. Those and other crops arrived on the African continent centuries ago. Already improved through horticultural selection and breeding, they increasingly displaced the traditional species that had fed Africans for thousands of years.

But, the report said, with renewed scientific and institutional support, Africa's native fruits could make a much greater contribution to nutrition and economic development.

The researchers said fruit trees and shrubs also offer long-term benefits by improving the stability of the environment.

The report is the third and final volume in a series that also explored the benefits of Africa's indigenous vegetable and grain crops.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Global study of seed consumption uncovers wider risk to plant species

Related Stories

Pygmy phenotype developed many times, adaptive to rainforest

August 18, 2014

The small body size associated with the pygmy phenotype is probably a selective adaptation for rainforest hunter-gatherers, according to an international team of researchers, but all African pygmy phenotypes do not have the ...

Scientists debunk climate change myths

February 25, 2014

Wits University scientists have debunked two big myths around climate change by proving firstly, that despite predictions, tropical storms are not increasing in number. However, they are shifting, and South Africa could be ...

Recommended for you

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.