Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Belgian Development Cooperation Price goes to a study on wild edible plants in DRCongo

23 March 2010. Brussels. The first price of the new edition of the 2-yearly Price of the Belgian Development Cooperation was awarded on the 24th of March to Sarah Haesaert of the Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Etnobotany, University of Ghent. The price was hand over in the Colonial Palace of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, at the end of the thematic day ‘Biodiversity and environment for improved livelihoods’.

She won the price for her MSc thesis: ‘Applied Ethnobotany: Identification, use and socio-economic importance of Wild Edible Plants by the Turumbu, DRCongo, District Tshopo’ with (co-)promoters Prof. Dr. ir. Patrick Van Damme & ir. Céline Termote. This MSc thesis was part of a broader VlIR-UOS-financed project on the nutritional, cultural and socio-economic importance of Wild Edible Plants (WEP) in the District Tshopo, Oriental Province, DRCongo.

The objectives of the project are:

  1. to inventory all WEPs within the 14 major ethnic groups of the Tshopo District,
  2. to study their socio-economic, cultural and nutritional importance,
  3. to analyze the nutritional content of the WEPs and
  4. to document the market chains reposing on those plants.
Taking into account the nutritional, socio-economic and cultural value of the species, the overall aim of the project is to propose a list of priority species for further study and participatory domestication. Domestication trials of some of the priority species as Gnetum africanum and Anonidium mannii are currently being executed within small farmer groups in and around Kisangani, with the aid of Icraf Cameroun and the local collaborators Prof. Dhed’a Djailo Benoît and Prof. Bwama Meyi Marcel (Univeristé de Kisangani).

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