Commercialization on the rise for Kenyan wild fruits

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Commercialization on the rise for Kenyan wild fruits

Commercialization of wild fruits has increased in Kenya with entrepreneurs selling baobab, marula, tamarinds and African plum seeds to growers, website reported.

The story reported the fruits had become 'serious crops' and were supporting hundreds of farmers in arid and semi-arid areas, from the lower end of the Eastern Province to the Kieni district in Central Kenya.

The different fruit varieties are often used during 'hungry months', while baobab fruit was grounded into a flour and mixed with water and sugar as a meal.

The story reported the tamarind, otherwise known as the 'tree grape' or 'afrocado', was rich in proteins, calcium, carbohydrates, iron and phosphorous.

The Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri) in the Eastern Province has programs to teach farmers how to break the dormancy of seeds so the fruit can grow earlier, while also showing better ways to domestic crops, the story reported.

"Although the locals have information about the indigenous fruits, they need to be empowered with scientific knowledge so they can exploit the fruits fully for domestic and commercial purposes," one Kefri scientist was quoted as saying.

Victor Theuri, from the University of Nairobi's Faculty of Agriculture, told the website the wild fruits have been able to evolve in the African environment even though they are not all native, as is the case with mangoes.

"Most indigenous fruit trees are not yet domesticated, so these species provide an important source of genetic diversity, which is vital for preserving characteristics that are well adapted to local conditions," he was quoted as saying.

Photo: Destino Gourmet

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