Kenya looks to domesticate wild fruits -

Kenya looks to domesticate wild fruits

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Kenya looks to domesticate wild fruits

The Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) has started research into the domestication of wild fruit crops due to high consumption in the Ukambani region, newspaper the Nairobi Star reported.

The story reported wild fruits provided an alternative source of food when crops failed due to variable weather, while their commercial value could not be underestimated.

The story cited Boabab trees (Muamba), Tamarindus indica (Kithumula), Vitex payos (Kimuu) and Barchemia discolor (Kisaaya) as four highly treasured plants. These trees are left untouched when people clear their farms due to the highly nutritional food they produce.

Baobab fruits are ground into kikoloo flour while the trees' fibres are also used to make ropes.

KEFRI researcher Pauline Bala said wild fruits had three or four times higher levels of Vitamin C, and their commercialization could help farmers in arid and semi-arid areas, the story reported.

"In Lower Eastern Kefri has given priority to three types of wild fruit trees; Baobab (Adansonia digitata), Tamarindus indica and Vitex payos," she was quoted as saying.

"The priority was given depending on the locals' information about the fruits and their use because we want to know the desirable characteristics of these trees for the sake of domestication.

"Some of the wild fruit seeds take longer to grow or fail to grow altogether. What we are doing is to carry out scientific procedures to break the dormancy for easy propagation of the fruits."


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