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Tropentag, September 19 - 21, 2016 in Vienna, Austria

"Solidarity in a competing world - fair use of resources"

The Baofood Project: Enhancing Local Food Security and Nutrition in Eastern Africa with the Baobab Tree

Kathrin Meinhold1, Yahia Omar Adam2, Munthali Chimuleke3, Esther Evang4, Jens Gebauer1, Tsige-Yohannes Habte4, Katja Kehlenbeck1, Michael Krawinkel4, Florian Kugler1, Tarig Elsheikh Mahmoud5, Nyori Jeremiah Mbugua6, Dagmar Mithöfer1, Kavoi Mutuku Muendo6, Anthony Maina Njiru7, Willis Omondi Owino6, Fredah Karambu Rimberia6, El Amin Sanjak2, Martin Schüring8, Muneer Elyas Siddig2,5, Arthur Stevens9, Mohamed El Nour Taha5, Andreas Triebel10, Dietrich Darr1

1Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Fac. of Life Sciences, Germany
2University of Khartoum, Fac. of Forestry, Sudan
3Mzuzu University, Fac. of Environmental Sciences, Malawi
4Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen, Germany
5University of Kordofan, Gum Ararbic Research Center, Sudan
6Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
7Wild Living Resources, Kenya
8ttz Bremerhaven, Germany
9PhytoTrade Africa, United Kingdom
10Baobab Social Business gGmbH, Germany


The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is found throughout the drier parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Particularly though the use of its highly nutritious fruits, but also its leaves and other parts of the tree it can make a positive contribution to family nutrition and food security – either directly or indirectly though income generation. The latter pathway is receiving increasing attention, following the acceptance of baobab fruit pulp as a novel food ingredient in both the US and Europe. In addition, baobab food products are of significant and increasing importance in a number of local African markets. These growing markets may offer additional income opportunities for baobab producers throughout Africa. However, in Eastern Africa, particularly Kenya and the Sudan, the opportunities baobab trees offer to improve local nutrition and livelihoods have largely been neglected.
The BAOFOOD project, which is funded by BMEL under its “Research Cooperation for Global Food Security and Nutrition” and runs from 2016 to 2019, aims at promoting the domestication, market development, processing and consumption of baobab for the improvement of food security, nutrition and rural livelihoods in these target countries. Addressing the identified bottlenecks of inconsistent quality in plant materials, lack of cultivation and processing technologies or underdeveloped market chains research activities will touch on all parts of the value chain. The geographical range of baobab as well as phenological variations are being assessed in order to preserve and protect the baobab tree as a natural resource while simultaneously developing viable recommendations for the sustainable cultivation and domestication of these trees. The nutritional value of baobab fruit and leaves are being analysed and the effect of baobab products on the food supply and the economic situation of local populations investigated in order to predict how increased commercial use will impact the project region. Extensive target group and market analyses in Kenya and Sudan are planned to explore the market demand and potential for new baobab-based products. The ultimate goal is to then produce those products with the most demand and potential in a local pilot production facility.

Keywords: Baobab (Adansonia digitata), food security, Kenya, nutrition, Sudan, underutilised plant species

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

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