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Cahiers Agricultures

Diversity and local valorisation of vegetal edible products in Benin Volume 12, numéro 5, Septembre 2003

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  • Author(s): Jean T. Claude Codjia, Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo, Marius Rodrigue Mensah Ekué , Laboratoire de gestion des produits forestiers non ligneux (PFNL‐Labo), Faculté des sciences agronomiques, Université d‘Abomey‐Calavi, 01 BP 526, Cotonou, Bénin <ccodjiafirstnet.bj> <assogbadjoyahoo.fr> <ekuemryahoo.fr>, <ekue1973avu.org>
  • Key words: Vegetal production; Economy; Agroforestry.
  • Page(s) : 321-31
  • Published in: 2003

The vegetation types currently found in Benin constitute a potential stock of edible products. Very few studies have been undertaken on this kind of resources commonly considered as "minor products". Some studies have been conducted but they are quite localised and do not assess species with economic potential integrated into traditional agroforestry systems. The present study undertaken throughout Benin aims at providing such information. The methodology consisted in periodical surveys within different localities sampled using the vegetation map of Benin. In each of the locality selected socio‐economical interviews were carried out with local populations and explorations were undertaken within vegetation types of the area in order to identify the plant species used by populations. The local uses of plant resources were also recorded. A total number of 162 plant species are used as food by local populations in Benin. These species belong to many families and orders of Angiosperms. The parts commonly consumed are the fruits (60%), followed by wild vegetables (20%), seeds (9%), roots and tubers (6%), sap (3%), and flowers (2%). Fifty nine percent (59%) of the species are found in the forest whilst 41% are identified in open vegetation types such as farms, fallows, and savannah. Some of these resources are processed and\or sold on different markets, playing then a cultural and socio‐economic role for the population. The important species in the Northern part of the country (between 8° and 12° N) are Adansonia digitata, Vitex doniana, Bombax costatum, Blighia sapida, Borassus aethiopium, Vitellaria paradoxa, Parkia africana, and Tamarindus indica. In the Southern part (between 6°30 N and 8° N), the most important species are Vitex doniana, Dialium guineense, Chrysophylum albidum, Uvaria chamae, Annona senegalensis, Irvingia gabonensis, and Cyperus esculenta. These species are frequently sold on the market and provide outstanding incomes for local populations. The potential agroforestry species are Adansonia digitata, Vitex doniana, Bombax costatum, Blighia sapida, Borassus aethiopium, Vitellaria paradoxa, Parkia africana, Tamarindus indica, and Diospyros mespiliformis.