The importance of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in rural West African subsistence--suggestion of a cautionary approach to international market export of baobab fruits

Ecol Food Nutr. 2010 May-Jun;49(3):145-72. doi: 10.1080/03670241003766014.


The European Commission recently authorized the import of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) fruit pulp as a novel food. In rural West Africa the multipurpose baobab is used extensively for subsistence. Three hundred traditional uses of the baobab were documented in Benin, Mali, and Senegal across 11 ethnic groups and 4 agroecological zones. Baobab fruits and leaves are consumed throughout the year. The export of baobab fruits could negatively influence livelihoods, including reduced nutritional intake, change of power relations, and access rights. Capacity building and certification could encourage a sustainable and ethical trade of baobab fruits without neglecting baobab use in subsistence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adansonia*
  • Africa, Western
  • Crops, Agricultural / economics*
  • Developing Countries
  • Diet / economics
  • Diet / ethnology
  • European Union
  • Fruit / economics*
  • Humans
  • Marketing / economics
  • Marketing / trends
  • Medicine, African Traditional / economics
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Leaves
  • Social Change
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vegetables / economics