In Africa, especially in the Savannah location, in which the temperature is dry and severely strike by weather improve ailments, creating it challenging for quite a few trees to endure or prosper, most in particular through the dry season, the Baobab tree survives, thrives and also serves as resource of daily life for lots of residing creatures.
The Baobab tree with its scientific title “Adansonia digitate”, is acknowledged by several distinct names. While some call it the monkey bread tree, lemonade tree, upside down tree, others in Africa connect with it the iconic tree, the ‘Magic Tree or the Tree of Life’.
This could be attributed to the unique mother nature of this tree species.
It is pretty substantial to place out that apart from the Baobab Tree’s ability to withstand local climate improve and drought, it has the opportunity of absorbing and storing h2o during the wet season in its substantial trunk stem.
It also makes concentrated nutrient-filled fruits as well as provide food stuff, h2o and shelter for human beings and animals throughout the dry season.
Even though it could be located in few nations outside the house the African Continent, the Baobab Tree which can improve to a peak of about 5 to 30 metres and trunk diameter of about 7 to 11 metres, grows in most African countries which includes Ghana and could live up a lot more than 1,500 yrs.
Every single element of it is useful ranging from the bark, trunk, leaves, and fruits to the seeds and has heaps of economic added benefits. It is hence not stunning that it is referred to as “the Tree of Life”.
Classic and cultural significance
Aside the higher than stated considerable values of the tree, most African communities such as Ghana, to be certain the five locations of the north attach some religious importance and cultural values to the Baobab Tree.
A common instance is that most communities in the Upper East Region have their ancestral shrines in the grove of baobab trees in which they perform sacrifices to their ancestors.
“Many of the Frafra communities in the Higher East Location, take into consideration Baobab tree (Tuah) as their god and they imagine their ancestors dwell in them, wherever they usually go to offer sacrifices”, Mr Atanga Adoor, one particular of the traditionalists from the Nayorigo local community in the Bongo District told this writer.
The baobab, most in particular, the seeds are a major portion of the food preparations. In some Frafra communities, rites would not be completed devoid of the use of the baobab seeds at specific stages.
The pulp is mainly employed as fermented h2o to get ready meals like common ‘Tuozaafi’ and ‘Zoom-koom’.
Food items, diet and wellbeing advantages
The baobab tree has meals and nutritional added benefits much a lot more than 1 can envision.
Experts have stated that it is just one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the earth ranging from its leaves identified as ‘kuka’, in Hausa, fruits, to the seeds and even the bark which is utilised for creating fibre.
In an job interview with the Ghana News Company, Dr Gustav Mahunu, a Food stuff Scientist, College for Enhancement Research, Nyankpala Campus, Tamale, explained the leaves, which can be applied fresh new or dried, are abundant in iron and other natural vitamins and typically utilised to get ready soup.
“The dry pulp of the fruit, immediately after separation from the seeds and fibre is eaten specifically mixed into porridge or milk.”
“The tree also offers a supply of fibre, dye and gasoline although the seeds can be utilised as a thickener for soup, maybe fermented into seasoning, roasted for direct usage or pounded to extract oil which is very good for usage and the cosmetic industry”, he stated.
Apart from the previously mentioned talked about added benefits, the fibre of the tree is also excellent for the brewing sector because it acts as a catalyst for a lot of of the beverages and could be made use of for drink production in the manufactory marketplace.
In addition, the baobab pulp from the dry fruit has a higher material of nutritional vitamins.
In truth, investigate executed has shown that the baobab powder has 4 moments as considerably vitamin C as orange and banana and gets to be the ideal all-natural immune system booster particularly in the period of the unfold of the novel coronavirus disease.
A huge share of honey in the Higher East Location is created from the baobab trees as bees just take seed drinking water (nectar), which is incredibly sweet to make honey.
Sector accessibility and Foreign exchange
Aside from the meals and dietary benefit, the Baobab is famous for its probable to empower rural households and lead to the socio-economic advancement of the country.
1 of the handful of organizations that is building efforts in the place of promoting and tapping the probable of the baobab is the Group for Indigenous Initiatives and Sustainability (ORGIIS).
ORGIIS is an setting-concentrated organization, that is into the processing of baobab powder in the Kassena-Nankana and Builsa locations in the Higher East Region for export.
Mr Julius Awaregy, the Executive Director, ORGISS, in an interview with GNA, discussed that the NGO was into the processing of baobab fruits into powder for export.
He mentioned each year the NGO is in a position to export an typical of 70 metric tonnes (70,000 Kg) of baobab powder to the United Kingdom (British isles) and Burkina Faso even though other people are remaining offered domestically.
“We can not even meet up with the marketplace demand from customers especially from the European planet mainly because in the formulated environment they understood the dietary value of baobab and the need for it is large.
“When the Covid-19 broke out I experienced to ship 3 20-seater containers to the British isles on 3 consecutive months. We acquired desire from Aduna Company Minimal in the Uk to create 80 metric tonnes of baobab powder in 2019 and we had been capable to do about 75 metric tonnes, so we are short by five metric tonnes, which implies we have additional desire than we can provide.
“We have one particular organization in South Africa named Greenback which is applying it to make children’s foods, mixing baobab with wheat, sorghum, maize to prepare children’s meals. It is extremely great for small children as nutritional vitamins are pretty important for the growth of little ones,” he mentioned.
In accordance to data from the Ghana Export Marketing Authority, the export of shea nuts and oil amounted to US$14,103,332 and 64,785,768 respectively in 2018.
On the other hand, investing and advertising and marketing baobab would not only make jobs for the Ghanaian youth but would rake in a lot more international exchange for the nation than the shea.
Employment creation and economic empowerment
According to the Executive Director of ORGISS, employment chances have been made for the vulnerable in their operational locations and were being building an influence on the livelihoods of the rural dwellers.
“Every calendar year we have 238 women of all ages used for a interval of six months from December to May just doing the job on baobab processing in our firm and we spend every single GH₵15.00 day by day and they perform six times in a week.”
“My office employed 15 workers to practice and build the potential of women of all ages on the sustainable selection of the baobab fruits so that they do not acquire all the fruits to avoid regeneration issues, as perfectly as, high quality processing. We are also functioning with about 1500 women who collect baobab fruits.
Mr Awaregy said 28 women of all ages are employed to cleanse the fruits each working day for six months and are paid GH₵5.00 per bag and the business processes averagely 7,000 baggage of 38kg, those people females who do the wild choosing and collection are paid out GH₵50.00 for 38 kilograms of baobab.
He reported gals have been skilled in baobab juice preparation, although the enterprise engages not only two transportation corporations, but about 7 loading boys who are paid out GH₵2.00 for each individual bag.
Escalating Baobab plantations
As part of contributions to rising the tree population, ORGISS Ghana is into the nursing, planting and grafting of the baobab trees.
In 2019 ORGISS produced 25,000 seedlings of which 15,000 went to Burkina Faso and in 2020, 17,000 seedlings have been created, even though farmers from communities and households in the Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Kassena-Nankana West, Builsa North and Builsa South and the Nahouri province in Burkina Faso supported to mature the baobab trees.
“When you plant a baobab tree it can take concerning 10 and 15 decades to mature when not disturbed, but we want to make it fruit by 7 many years, so we commenced 4 yrs ago to nurse and graft and we have developed some in a person of our communities,” he included.
Despite its wonderful likely to produce respectable employment to strengthen livelihoods of rural communities, a lot has not been carried out by government and other stakeholders to harness the potentials of the Baobab.
The Ghana Export Promotion Authority has also not deemed it as a valuable Non-Classic financial export.
It is definitely clear that when the proper expense is created to harness the potentials of baobab, it would propel great economic advancement and contribute to the attainment of the SDGs notably targets a single, two and three.
To realize the country’s industrialization agenda and the Ghana Beyond Support, there is the need to be entrepreneurial diversification in the space of the baobab mainly because the ORGISS creates and export in its raw form.
This indicates that companies can be founded to add price to the powder by processing it into completed solutions this kind of as juice and children’s meals between others.
The need for the baobab seedlings is significant overseas, specifically Burkina Faso.
Ghana federal government by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Ministry of Science, Know-how and Innovation and their departments could commit in the production of baobab seedlings and export them to these international locations.
Thanks to its higher demand from customers in Burkina Faso main around harvesting, the govt of Burkina Faso has put a ban on wild harvesting of baobab and thus they troop into Ghana through the borders notably northern borders to harvest trees thereby cutting down its inhabitants.
There is hence the urgent require for government to enact a regulation to shield the financial tree from currently being around exploited, when encouraging and supporting farmers to plant far more baobab trees to maximize tree inhabitants.
The Ministry of Trade and Field via the Ghana Export Advertising Authority (GEPA) could facilitate help and marketplace possibilities for the sale of baobab powder and baobab relevant products and solutions and there could be the institution of a Baobab Processing Manufacturing facility in the Upper East Area as section of government’s One District A single Factory agenda.