CONSUMPTION OF DRYLAND INDIGENOUS FRUITS TO IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS IN KENYA: THE CASE OF MWINGI DISTRICT
Many indigenous fruit trees (IFTs) exist in Kenya that could be integrated into farming systems to support the nutritional security and income of communities. These fruits are good sources of specific vitamins and other essential micronutrients. Consumption of a range of species could help prevent a wide range of diseases. Despite their wide natural occurrence in dry areas of Kenya, however, the promotion of IFTs has not been adequately fostered by agricultural and forestry institutions and, consequently, they remain underutilized. Here, we report on a survey that was conducted on IFTs in arid and semi-arid Mwingi District. Our objective was to investigate patterns of consumption and perspectives and practices of use and cultivation by local communities. A structured questionnaire was used to interview 104 household members, equally distributed among women, men, girls, and boys. Fifty-seven species were documented as useful to local people. Average fruit consumption per person per day of these species was low at around 20 g. Children were the main consumers of these fruits, although adults consumed particular species. A negative attitude by adults on the use of IFTs is a factor that limits consumption. Seasonality appears to be another important factor limiting the use, with consumption varying by month relative to the fruiting seasons of important species. IFTs mainly grow in wild habitats, as planting in farmland is currently rarely practiced, although households will often protect existing wild trees in the agricultural landscape. We make the case for more attention at national and international levels to these species.
Simitu, P., Jamnadass, R., Kindt, R., Kimiywe, J. and Kungu, J. (2009). CONSUMPTION OF DRYLAND INDIGENOUS FRUITS TO IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS IN KENYA: THE CASE OF MWINGI DISTRICT. Acta Hortic. 806, 93-98
indigenous fruit trees, cultivation, nutrition, arid and semi-arid areas