Diversity and utilization of selected edible indigenous fruit trees in Northern Uganda
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Tropical fruit trees constitute important biological resources in the global agro-biodiversity context. Unlike the tropical fruit trees of American and Asian origin, indigenous fruit trees (IFTs) of tropical Africa have scarcely achieved the status of international recognition in commodity markets and research arena. This study was undertaken in a sub-humid area of northern Uganda to document the diversity of edible IFTs and evaluate domestic consumption and market potential of the selected IFTs. Semi-structured questionnaires, interviews, focused group discussions (FDGs) and transect walks were done to document diversity of IFTs and their utilization in the study area. A total of 302 respondents were interviewed. Results showed that there are 34 edible indigenous fruit trees in the study area. Vitellaria paradoxa C.F.Gaetn, Phoenix reclinata Jacq, Ximenia Americana L, Vitex doniana sweet, and Tamarindus indica L. were the priority ranked fruit trees. Meanwhile Vangueria apiculata K. schum, Ximenia americana L, and Saba comorensis (Boj.) Pichon were perceived as the most threatened species. Results of the Rapid market surveys (RMS) showed that Vitellaria paradoxa C.F.Gaetn is the most understood, highly protected and valued IFT. Others of importance include: Tamarindus indica L, Carissa edulis Vahl, Ximenia Americana L, Vitex doniana sweet, Saba comorensis (Boj.) Pichon and Vangueria apiculata K. schum. These results reveal the need to undertake more studies on unlocking the potentials of IFTs such as Tamarindus indica L, Carissa edulis Vahl, Ximenia Americana L, Vitex doniana sweet, Saba comorensis (Boj.) Pichon and Vangueria apiculata K. schum that are highly preferred because of their market potential.