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Tropentag, September 17 - 19, 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic

"Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources"

Promoting the Use of Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Rural Communities in Eastern Africa

Mahmoud Fadl El Mula Ahmed1, Yahia Omar Adam2, Munthali Chimuleke3, Dietrich Darr4, Elwasila Mukhtar Mohamed Elwasila1, Jens Gebauer4, Tsige-Yohannes Habte5, Henry Johnson6, Katja Kehlenbeck7, Michael Krawinkel5, Tarig Elsheikh Mahmoud8, Anthony Maina9, Nyori Jeremiah Mbugua10, Dagmar Mithöfer4, Kavoi Mutuku Muendo10, Rabea North4, Willis Omondi Owino10, Fredah Karambu Rimberia10, El Amin Sanjak1, Martin Schüring11, Muneer Elyas Siddig8, Mohamed El Nour Taha12, Andreas Triebel13

1University of Khartoum, Fac. of Agriculture, Sudan
2University of Khartoum, Fac. of Forestry, Sudan
3Mzuzu University, Fac. of Environmental Sciences, Malawi
4Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Fac. of Life Sciences, Germany
5Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Inst. of Nutritional Sciences, Germany
6PhytoTrade Africa, United Kingdom
7World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Tree Diversity, Domestication and Delivery, Kenya
8University of Kordofan, Gum Ararbic Research Center, Sudan
9Wild Living Resources , Kenya
10Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
11ttz Bremerhaven, Germany
12University of Kordofan, Forestry and Range Sciences, Sudan
13Baobab Social Business gGmbH, Germany


Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) is a majestic tree that occurs naturally throughout the drier parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This multipurpose species with an exceptionally nutritious fruit has the potential to play an important role in family nutrition and food security in marginalised rural communities. Following initiatives by PhytoTrade Africa that led to the acceptance of baobab dried fruit pulp as a novel food ingredient in the EU and the US in 2008, further opportunities for cash income generation potentially arise from growing international demand for baobab.
The vast majority of recent research activities on baobab have mainly focused on Southern and Western Africa, but little is known about East Africa, particularly Kenya and Sudan. To explore the potential of baobab to improve food security, nutritional health and rural poverty, a research consortium has been formed bringing together research institutions and the private sector in Kenya, Sudan, Malawi, UK and Germany. Stakeholder workshops and field visits were conducted in Germany and Kenya to exchange the available information and identify knowledge gaps.
The results of the workshops can be summarised as follows:
· To ensure a sufficient supply of baobab products, there is the urgent need to (i) investigate the current contribution of baobab products to local diets, food security and income generation; (ii) assess the ecology, distribution and abundance of baobab and potential future changes; (iii) analyse the potential of new processing technologies for maintaining nutrients during storage; (iv) assess markets, supply chains, consumer preferences and industry requirements for baobab products; and (iv) build capacities of local communities, particularly women, on value addition and raise their awareness on the value of baobab products for family nutrition.
· Future research should address the improvement of the long-term food security and nutrition of local communities in the target regions by (i) ensuring the availability of and access to baobab products with high nutritional value, (ii) increasing the use of baobab products in daily diets, and (iii) raising incomes from selling raw and processed baobab products of high nutritional value.

Keywords: Food security, fruit tree, Kenya, neglected species, nutrition, sudan, value chain, workshop

Contact Address: Dietrich Darr, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Fac. of Life Sciences, Marie-Curie-Str. 1, 47533 Kleve, Germany, e-mail: dietrich.darr@hochschule-rhein-waal.de

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