Authors

Department of Agricultural Extension and Communication, University of Agriculture, Makurdi

Abstract

The study examined prospects of selected forest fruits and vegetables in Enugu North Agricultural zone of Enugu State, Nigeria. Structured interview schedule and focus group discussion were used to collect data from a sample of one hundred and twenty (120) respondents. Data were analyzed using matrix rank ordering, percentage, mean scores and standard deviation. Results of the study identified about twenty forest fruits and vegetables that are of both economic and dietary importance to the respondents. The forest fruits and vegetables identified with their botanical and common names in order of importance include: Prosopis africana (okpeyi) (M = 2.96), Irvingia gabonensiss/wombolus (ogbono) (M = 2.79), Treculia africana (ukwa) (M = 2.76), Parkia spp (ugba) (M = 2.75). Pterocarpus spp (oha) (M = 2.55) and Pergularia spp. (utazi) (M = 2.55). Others include Xylopia aethiopica (uda) (M=2.50), Piper nigrum (uziza) (M = 2.40), Gnetum africanum (ukazi) (M = 2.38), Chrysophylium africanum (udara) (M = 2.34) Garcinia kola (akuilu) (M = 2.32), among others. These forest fruits and vegetables are very important to mankind considering the potentials economically, culturally nutritionally, medically and environmentally. Constraints to access and utilization were poor storage facilities (M=2.38), transportation problems (M=2.38), lack of modern processing technology (M=2.38), insect pests and diseases (M=2.36), deforestation and land degradation (M= 2.35), destruction of forests by fire resulting as a result of bush burning (M= 2.30), poor yield (M=2.19), deterioration/perishability (wastages) (M=2.18), among others. The study recommends that efforts are highly needed by government at the local level to involve local community leaders in enforcing laws to reduce deforestation and bush burning in order to avoid destruction of forest products and exploitation of the valuable forest resources. It highlights the involvement of government in providing adequate rural infrastructure in order to encourage establishment of rural agro-processing industries by investors to prevent losses emanating from spoilage of the products, ensure food security, and create employment opportunities thus reducing poverty and vulnerability among rural folks.

Keywords

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