Nutritional values and indigenous preferences for shea fruits (Vitellaria paradoxa C.V. Gaertn. F.) in African agroforestry parklands

Steven Maranz, Walter Kpikpi, Zeev Wiesman, Armelle De Saint Sauveur, Bishnu Chapagain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

Samples of dried shea fruit pulp were collected from tree populations in Mali, Burkina Faso, northern Cameroon, and Uganda. A variety of analytical methods was used to measure total soluble solids (TSS), crude protein, and mineral contents. The results demonstrate that shea fruits are a rich source of sugars, protein, calcium, and potassium during the "hungry season", when food stores run low and the energy-intensive work of preparing land for planting must be done. A companion survey of indigenous shea tree and fruit classification was carried out in study area villages. Indigenous savanna inhabitants, especially men, emphasize the importance of fruit pulp taste, while women emphasize the butter content of the nuts. Shea fruits have greater importance to the inhabitants of the drier savannas such as the Sahel, where shea fruits have been shown to have higher nutritional values. While there is currently much international interest in developing the potential of shea butter production in Africa, the role of the fruit pulp in the local diet needs to be taken into consideration in development programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-600
Number of pages13
JournalEconomic Botany
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Butyrospermum
  • Fruit pulp nutritional value
  • Parkland agroforestry
  • Shea butter
  • Vitellaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture

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