SECURING FOOD IN THE HUNGRY SEASON: ROLE OF THE BAOBAB TREE
The baobab (Adansonia digitata) is a slow growing, large tree common in the Guinea and Sudan Savannah zones of Northern Ghana. It is found everywhere in the rural communities where people also attach spiritual value to its presence and do not like to see it cut for any reason. During food shortage, the population eats the tender fruits, leaves (dry and fresh), seed, and the pulp from the mature fruit of the baobab tree. Harvesting of plant parts is carried out by men; processing and sale by women. The various uses of baobab are especially important for the Gruni (Frafra), the major ethnic group in the Upper East Region. Poverty levels of population are high in Northern Ghana. The Upper East Region, with Gruni as the largest part of the population, has been ranked as the poorest in Ghana. For these people, the period immediately following the rainy season until crops are mature is critical in terms of household food availability. Most households have depleted their food stock by then and often have reduced to one meal a day, with the rest of food needs supplemented from the wild plants in their surroundings. This paper is documenting the role of the baobab tree in securing Gruni households against hunger, identifying specifically the following: (1) aspects of the processing, marketing, and uses of baobab tree products among the Grunis; (2) indigenous knowledge on coping mechanisms used in hunger season by local communities, which needs documentation; and (3) potential/scope of the baobab tree products for development and improvement as used in the neighbouring countries, but not attempted in Ghana.
Kranjac-Berisavljevic, G., Balma, Y.I. and Gandaa, B.Z. (2009). SECURING FOOD IN THE HUNGRY SEASON: ROLE OF THE BAOBAB TREE. Acta Hortic. 806, 85-92
poverty, Gruni ethnic group, hunger coping mechanisms