Advances in domestication of indigenous fruit trees in the West African Sahel

Fruit trees play an important nutritional role for livelihoods of rural people in the West African Sahel through provision of energy and nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Research on the domestication of local fruit trees has started recently through projects concentrating on some of the most important indigenous species of dry West Africa, i.e. Adansonia digitata, Parkia biglobosa, Tamarindus indica, Vitellaria paradoxa and Ziziphus mauritiana. We present a status of finalised and ongoing domestication research with the aim of defining research gaps that would need to be covered by future research activities to obtain higher yields and better quality fruits. Germplasm collection in central West Africa has been intense compared to elsewhere in the species’ distribution areas, but conservation status of the material is poor since it is only planted in few trials.