Diversity of Local Fruit Trees and Their Contribution in Sustaining the Rural Livelihood in the Northern Cameroon
The northern Cameroon ecosystems harbor a diversity of useful tree species producing non wood forest products (NWFPs). Indigenous fruit trees are very important for the nutritional quality of rural population and contribute to their income. A better knowledge of the potential utilization of these species and the constraints attached to the transformation of their products and commercialization would favor their promotion. Methodological approach included ethno-nutritional and market surveys, and chemical analysis. Results showed that a total of 55 fruit tree species were valued by the farmers. The top sixteen are represented by Adansonia digitata L., Aframomum latifolium (Afz.) K. Schum, Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del., Borassus aethiopum Mart, Deatrium microcarpum Guill. et Perr., Diospyros mespiliformis Hochst ex.A.Rich. Haematostaphis barteri Hook F., Hyphaena thebaica (L.)Mart, Parkia biglobosa (Jacq) R.Br.ex.G.Don, Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich) Hochst, Syzygium guineense var. macrocarpum (Engl.) F. White, Ximenia americana L., Vitellaria paradoxa Gaertn.f, , Vitex doniana Sweet, Tamarindus indica L, and Ziziphus mauritiana Lam. They are the most preferred and the most commercialized. The chemical composition of these fruits showed that S. birrea has the highest vitamin C value (13.60 mg/100g) and S. guineense has the highest amount of total soluble sugars (93.98 % of DW). Oil contents are low for all the fruits evaluated except C. edulis with 21.04 % of lipid. Iron value varies from 0.48 to 48.07 mg/100g respectively for P. guajava and A. senegalensis. The richest source of calcium and magnesium is A. senegalensis (558.74 and 18.20 μg/g respectively). The nutritive potential of the fruit tree species and their dietary applications are important. Species with high nutritious value can be recommended for a domestication program, which is important to diversify agricultural production and to reduce poverty in Northern Cameroon.
Key words: Northern Cameroon, Fruits, Marketing, Chemical composition, Domestication.