THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS FRUIT TREES IN RURAL LIVELIHOODS: THE CASE OF COMMUNITIES IN THE MWEKERA AREA, COPPERBELT PROVINCE, ZAMBIA
The role of indigenous fruit trees in the rural livelihoods is now widely recognised. There is new and increasing emphasis on the contribution of non-timber forest products in improving livelihoods and in managing the forest ecosystems of the Miombo woodlands sustainably. This study, conducted in the Mwekera area of Copperbelt Province, Zambia, determined the role of indigenous fruit trees in rural livelihoods. A variety of participatory rural appraisal techniques and a household survey were used to collect data on the use of indigenous fruits. The study revealed that 99% of the respondents experience hunger every year during the rainy season from November to April. Up to 97% of the rural people in the area collect indigenous fruit (IFs) such as Uapaca kirkiana, Anisophyllea boehmii, and Parinari curatellifolia, ranked in order of importance. On the other hand, relatively few households (31%) sell indigenous fruits. Uapaca kirkiana and Anisophyllea boehmii accounted for 95% of the fruits sold. Nearly half (46%) of the rural people in the area process fruits into juice and/or porridge. It was concluded that the major contribution of IFTs in the study area was in relieving hunger rather than as a source of income through selling. It is recommended that domestication of indigenous fruits and sustainable forestry and agricultural management practices be employed to ensure that future generations continue to benefit from the forest resource.
Kalaba, F.K., Chirwa, P.W., Prozesky, H. and Ham, C. (2009). THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS FRUIT TREES IN RURAL LIVELIHOODS: THE CASE OF COMMUNITIES IN THE MWEKERA AREA, COPPERBELT PROVINCE, ZAMBIA. Acta Hortic. 806, 129-136
IFTs, processing, food security, forest resource, miombo woodlands