THE ROLE OF WILD FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IN TANZANIA (PRELIMINARY PROGRESS REPORT)
Although the use of wild fruits and vegetables has recently decreased, many people in rural areas still use them extensively as a supplement to their basic food requirements; some are preserved for use during periods of scarcity. They are sometimes sold in the urban markets and are then in competition with crops of exotic origin. Although the popularity of these wild forms of fruits and vegetables has declined, it is considered that special attention should be paid to them in order to maintain and improve this important source of food supply.
Apart from their traditional use as food in many parts of Tanzania, these indigenous fruits and vegetables have potentially many advantages over the exotice types, namely:
- They are already adapted to the local environment.
- They are generally more nutritious.
- They are often immune to diseases.
- They are less adversely affected by insect attack than exotic types.
- They are adapted to withstand competition with other plants and weeds.
However, due to the inevitable changes occurring in the ecology of many areas, some plant species which have hitherto been used as vegetables or fruits are on the verge of extinction. The Research and Training Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives has therefore resolved to assess the whole situation and attempt to evaluate the economic potential of these plants under modern cultivation practices.