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Environmental Research Journal
Year: 2011 | Volume: 5 | Issue: 2 | Page No.: 74-86
DOI: 10.3923/erj.2011.74.86  
Wild and Semi-Wild Food Plants of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom of Uganda:Growth Forms, Collection Niches, Parts Consumed, Consumption Patterns, Main Gatherers and Consumers
Jacob Godfrey Agea , Clement Akais Okia , Refaat Atalla Ahmed Abohassan , James Munga Kimondo , Joseph Obua , John Hall and Zewge Teklehaimanot
Abstract: Numerous publications provide detailed knowledge of Wild and Semi-Wild Food Plants (WSWFPs) in specific locations in Africa. These studies reveal that WSWFPs are essential components of many Africans diets especially in periods of seasonal food shortage. In this study, researchers present the commonly consumed WSWFPs in Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom of Uganda; their growth forms, collection niches, parts mainly consumed, consumption patterns, main gatherers and the main consumers. A total 385 respondents sampled according to Krejcie and Morgan from two sub-countries (Mutunda and Kiryandongo) of Kibanda country in Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom were administered with semi-structured questionnaires. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were also held to validate questionnaire responses and to characterise the commonly consumed WSWFPs in terms of their growth forms and life cycles. Excel spreadsheet and MINITAB statistical software were used to analyze the questionnaire responses. The outputs of FGDs were subjected to thorough content analysis. A total of 62 WSWFPs were reported as being consumed. The most frequently mentioned were Amaranthus dubius Mart. ex Thell (73.8%), Amaranthus spinosus L (71.4%), Tamarindus indica L (69.1%). Hibiscus sabdariffa L (51.9%) and Vitex doniana Sweet (50.1%). But in terms of botanical family, members of Solanaceae (9.7%) and Fabaceae (9.7%) families were the most commonly consumed followed by Amaranthaceace (8.1%), Malvaceae (8.1%) and Asteraceae (6.5%) families, respectively. Out of the 62 documented WSWFPs, herbs (51.6%) and shrubs (24.2%) constituted the highest the numbers. Trees, vines/climbers and graminoid were few. Fresh leaves and shoots (97.1%) and fruits (74.3%) were predominantly consumed plant parts in the study area. Most WSWFPs were largely consumed as the main sauce and side dishes after cooking, raw as snacks and as condiments (spices or appetizers). Their consumption as wine and porridge component, beverages, raw in salads, potash salts in other foods and as relishes were infrequent. Women (85.7%) and children (75.1%) were the main gatherers. Few men (10.4%) engaged in gathering activities. Majority (75.8%) of the respondents reported that the gathered plants are consumed nearly by entire household members. About 21% said women are the major consumers. Collection niches varied greatly from forests (forest gaps and margins) (77.8%), bushlands (woodlands) (65.7%), cultivated farmlands (63.2%) and grasslands (59.8%). Other niches included homegardens (homesteads), swampy areas (wetlands), abandoned homesteads and farmlands, wastelands, farm borders, roadsides (footpaths) and areas around animal enclosures/cattle corridors. There is a need for more research on the possibility of adapting, growing and intentionally managing the WSWFPs on farms since large proportion of them are still gathered from out-of-farm niches.
How to cite this article:
Jacob Godfrey Agea, Clement Akais Okia, Refaat Atalla Ahmed Abohassan, James Munga Kimondo, Joseph Obua, John Hall and Zewge Teklehaimanot, 2011. Wild and Semi-Wild Food Plants of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom of Uganda:Growth Forms, Collection Niches, Parts Consumed, Consumption Patterns, Main Gatherers and Consumers. Environmental Research Journal, 5: 74-86.
DOI: 10.3923/erj.2011.74.86