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The potential of indigenous fruit trees: results of a survey in Kitui District, Kenya

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A semi-structured questionnaire survey was conducted [date not given] at 6 divisions (Central, Chuluni, Kabati, Mutito, Mutomo and Yatta) in Kitui District, a semi-arid area of Kenya. Farmers (n=7-9) were asked on the identification, propagation, management, preference and market value of indigenous tree species in the area. A total of 62 wild species was identified in farmlands and woodlands. The top 10 priority species of the farmers (in descending order) were Vitex payos, Tamarindus indica, Sclerocarya birrea, Adansonia digitata, Azanza garckeana, Vangueria rotundata, Berchemia discolor, Carissa edulis, Ximenia caffra, Balanites aegyptica, and Loranthus uluguense. Marketing survey revealed that seven of the top 10 species (Adansonia digitata, Azanza garckeana, Berchemia discolor, S. birrea, T. indica, V. payos and X. caffra) already have commercial potentials as they are sold in local markets. The survey also revealed that indigenous knowledge existed on managing indigenous fruit trees species such as spot slashing around individual trees to reduce competition from less favoured trees, pruning trees, and supporting young regenerants. The constraints identified by farmers that limit planting and management of indigenous fruit tree species are presented. Recommendations made from the survey are also presented.

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