Domesticating Indigenous Fruit Trees for Agroforestry.

TitleDomesticating Indigenous Fruit Trees for Agroforestry.
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsJaenicke H, Simons A, Maghembe J, Weber J
Conference NameXXV International Horticultural Congress, Part 13: New and Specialized Crops and Products, Botanic Gardens and Human-Horticulture Relationship
PublisherActa Horticulturae 523
Keywordsagroforestry, Bactris gasipaes, domestication, indigenous fruits, Uapaca kirkiana, vegetative propagation
AbstractAs new exotic fruits are being introduced to consumers in the North, domestication of lesser-known, indigenous fruits for tropical subsistence farmers receives an additional perspective. Domestication of indigenous fruits is part of a strategy to improve human nutrition in rural areas and to "put money into farmers' pockets" in order to improve their living conditions. It is an integrated strategy that involves dissemination of information and germplasm following research on identification, production, management and adoption of desirable germplasm. The different strategies for two species, Uapaca kirkiana and Bactris gasipaes, are presented. U. kirkiana is a dioecious tree whose fruits are widely eaten throughout southern Africa, but are only traded locally. B. gasipaes is a palm species with considerable importance in Central and South America. Through a long history of use by indigenous people, the species now has a complex of distinct landraces. Its market is mainly regional, but two of its products, fresh and canned heart-of-palm, are being commercialized in North America and Europe. With growing markets, improved production of both species could help improve the local farmers' conditions. Germplasm collections of both species have been conducted and genetic trials established in a number of countries. Vegetative propagation is a key technique to support the genetic selection. Current research on grafting of U. kirkiana and on the induction of adventitious shoot production in B. gasipaes is presented.