Across the Africa, indigenous fruit trees are valuable assets for local communities. Indigenous fruits have been collected from the wild for centuries for human consumption and other purposes. Indigenous fruit trees provide vital nutrients that may be scarce in other food sources. They are naturally adapted to local soils and climates, can enhance food and nutrition security and often adapt and survive environmental stresses better than exotic species.
But the natural habitats of trees are being lost, mainly to widespread deforestation resulting from population growth. Industrial agriculture is also contributing to their loss. There is still a scarcity of research investment and development for the improvement of underutilised fruit trees in Africa. Many still only grow in the wild. This limits their potential for higher yield and growth.
Research showed that indigenous fruit trees, which occur across different ecological zones in Africa, are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, protein and valuable phytochemicals. They also have recognised medicinal value and are used as therapeutic remedies by many people especially in rural areas with limited access to orthodox health care.
African indigenous fruit trees are under-utilised.