Re: Forests and trees provide benefits for food security and nutrition– what is your say?

Peter Steele Independent Consultant Agricultural Engineer, Italy
Peter Steele

Eating Trees

Great subject - a perennial, of course, but there is always an opportunity of sharing information with those who may be new to the topic. Take Roy Stacy's  story from the Sahel of the 1970s, for example, and consider the time-line involved with planting trees in your community - for that next generation, of course. 

Just over five years the Sub-Regional FAO office for East Africa in Addis Ababa explored the mixed blessings of Prosopis spp. in the region. Many of you will know of the complexities of introducing and living with alien plants that quickly abscond their original planting areas, out-perform local management and eventually steal the land that was once open to everyone; and all this for the best of reasons - to provide feed, fodder, timber and livelihoods. 

An Expert Consultation was held in Ethiopia in 2007 from which a manual/proceedings was prepared that captured the experience of local people - growers, processors, advisors, experts and others. Eradication efforts in Sudan, timber use in Kenya and charcoal manufacture in Ethiopia were discussed together with a host of other examples, noted and recorded alongside use of food from Prosopis spp. in countries from around the globe - Mexico, US, Argentina, Kenya and others. The proceedings contain a useful collection of recipes for those interested. 

If you live in that belt of dry bush country that spans Africa from Senegal to Somalia you may already be familiar with this species - risks, advantages, opportunities and more. Should you be new to the species or simply want to update yourself with information that may be new to you - get a copy of the proceedings. You should find it on-line in FAO publications.

Messages to take home, however, can be profound: In summary - don't introduce this plant into new lands.

File attached containing Paper #10 Sudan/Babiker & El Tayeb. Note section #8 'Enhanced utilization'.

Look forward to following the debate.


Peter Steele
10 February 2013