Study: African fruit is untapped resource

Jan 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: Science funding should go to people, not projects

Related Stories

Scientists debunk climate change myths

Feb 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 ...

Sucker-footed fossils broaden the bat map

Feb 04, 2014

Today, Madagascar sucker-footed bats live nowhere outside their island home, but new research shows that hasn't always been the case. The discovery of two extinct relatives in northern Egypt suggests the ...

Recommended for you

Smithsonian to improve ethics policies on research funding

Jun 26, 2015

After revelations that a scientist failed to disclose his funding sources for climate change research, the Smithsonian Institution said Friday it is improving its ethics and disclosure policies to avoid conflicts of interest.

User comments : 0

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.