Across the Congo Basin, bush mango (Irvingia spp.) nuts have been harvested from forest landscapes for consumption, sold as a foodstuff and for medicine for centuries. Data on this trade however are sparse. A value chain approach was used to gather information on stakeholders in the chain from the harvesters in three major production areas in Cameroon to traders in Cameroon, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea, the socio-economic values, environmental sustainability and governance. Around 5190 people work in the complex chain in Cameroon with an estimated 4109 tons harvested on average annually in the period 2007 to 2010. Bush mango incomes contribute on average to 31% of harvester’s annual incomes and dependence increases for those further from the forest. Customary rules govern access to resources. Although regulations exist, most trade is illegal, with corruption and collective action governing access to markets. The majority of nuts harvested are sustainably collected. Although 51% of the harvest is sourced from the forest, trees are also managed on cultivated land. Forest degradation and deforestation threaten the species. Policy measures such as linking stakeholders, promoting cultivation, pragmatic regulation, and supporting processer groups may make trade in this forest food more sustainable.
Topic: food security, nutrition, nontimber forest products, livelihoods, forest policy
Publication Year: 2017
Source: Forest Policy and Economics 84: 29-37