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Fruiting Africa: Fruit trees and shrubs of Kenya

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Fruits are important for human nutrition as they provide energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals as well as healthy compounds such as polyphenols and antioxidants. Cultivation of fruit species can also contribute to livelihoods by the generation of cash income and job creation. In addition, growing trees – including fruit species – is beneficial to the environment through several ecosystem service functions, such as soil improvement, microclimate enhancement and carbon sequestration. Trees play a key, but often undervalued role in supporting food security and nutrition through these various pathways (Gitz et al. 2021). For example, in many parts of Africa including Kenya, the potential of fruit cultivation and utilization is not fully exploited. This is due to several constraints such as difficulty in accessing planting material, knowledge gaps regarding tree management, fruit handling and processing, poor marketing and infrastructure as well as low demand for fruit due to high prices and lack of awareness on the nutritional value of fruits.

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