Are all Baobabs created equal?

The-flower-of-a-baobab-in-G

In August last year Dr Sarah Venter visited Ghana to see if there are any significant variations between the North-West African baobabs versus our Southern African Baobabs. “The journey took me from Accra, the capital on the Atlantic coast of West Africa about 800 km right up to the northern-most part of the country.  Here Baobab trees are scattered throughout the landscape and, as in most parts of Africa, they are protected by the local people and cultures,” she reports.

Gathering data from Ghanian Baobabs
Gathering data from Ghanian Baobabs

“I was specifically looking at baobab flowering to assess the variation across Africa.  This will help us get a wider understanding of the ecology of baobab population biology and support sustainable utilization of its resources. We haven’t got any clear-cut answers yet, more work still needs to be done in other areas of Africa for all the puzzle-pieces to fit together. What is quite different from Baobab use in the South, is that North-West Africans love to eat the Baobab fruit and leaves,” she says.

Baobabs in northern Ghana, between agricultural land.
Baobabs in northern Ghana, between agricultural land.

Dr Venter also visited and met Dr Kenneth Egbadzor from the Ho Technological University who have a program to look at the development of baobabs in the Volta region, about 200 km from Accra, south-east of the enormous Lake Volta.

“The Ho Technological University’s researchers are trying to develop a baobab that can produce fruit faster than in the wild so that they can commercialize the crop. They hope that Baobabs will be able to match coco in the Ghanian economy and because the baobab is native to Ghana, it would be better suited than coco,” she explains.

Visiting-with-dr-Egbadzo and his team of researchers from the university in Ho
Visiting-with-dr-Egbadzo and his team of researchers from the university in Ho
Filed under: Baobab Research