Using a multi-stakeholder approach to increase value for traditional agroforestry systems: the case of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Kilifi, Kenya

Meinhold, Kathrin
Darr, Dietrich
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Springer Nature
The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is an integral component of many dryland farming systems in sub-Sahara Africa. Such traditional agroforestry systems can foster a variety of benefits; besides positive livelihood implications baobab can particularly address food security objectives due to its highly nutritious fruits. However, many bottlenecks persist inhibiting the broader potential of indigenous trees in farming systems and their increased utilisation and commercialisation. We suggest that traditional farming systems with baobab trees can be advanced by stimulating the emergence of local markets for baobab products while promoting businesses and innovations aimed at meeting the arising market demand. Increasing the perceived value of local agroforestry products in combination with facilitating additional commercialisation pathways will in turn lead to food security and livelihood benefits. Using a multi-stakeholder approach such considerations were put into practice in Kilifi, Kenya, by initiating a community-based enterprise development producing high-quality baobab powder and oil. Initial results demonstrate behavioural changes, an improved practical knowhow with regard to baobab management and utilisation, and an increased consumption of baobab, which may already contribute to food security objectives. Baobab is increasingly seen as a valuable resource as opposed to ‘food for the poor’ and a tree possessed by evil spirits. This may lay the groundwork for further value addition activities and enterprise development in the communities. With baobab being a common, yet so far underutilised feature of local farming systems in Kilifi, activities based on its increasing commercialisation can be complementary and easily integrable to prevailing livelihood strategies.
© The Author(s) 2020. This article is published with open access at and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems , available online at: . Keywords: food product innovation; community-based enterprise; neglected and underutilised species; multi-stakeholder approach; rural development; food security.
Meinhold, K., & Darr, D. Using a multi-stakeholder approach to increase value for traditional agroforestry systems: the case of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Kilifi, Kenya. Agroforest Syst 95, 1343–1358 (2021).