Nutraceutical wild plants and their socio-economic contributions to households

Nutraceutical wild plants and their socio-economic contributions to households in Lare Woreda, Gambella Regional State, Southwest Ethiopia

Thakdeal Kuet Lim1, Debela Hunde Feyyisa2 and Dereje Bekele Jiru2  

1Gambella Agricultural Research Institute

2 Jimma University, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma, Ethiopia  

International journal of food and nutrition research

An ethno botanical study was conducted in Lare woreda (district) of Gamella Regional State of Ethiopia with the objective of identifying the existing nutraceutical plant species having various socio-economic significances for households in the area. The study has given special emphasis on assessing the roles of these plants in diversifying food sources and healthcare of the local communities. In addition, other socio-economic benefits of the identified plant species to the rural households were also studied. 120 households from three representative administrative Kebeles were selected and interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire. In addition to household interview, other methods such as focus group discussions, key informants interview, preference ranking, and matrix scoring and ranking were also employed. Thirty seven plant species belonging to 27 families, along with their multiple household benefits were identified. Fabaceae family, which is represented by four species accounted for the largest proportion of these plants followed by Apocynaceae represented by three species. These plant species belong to different habits, which include trees, shrubs, climbers, and herbs with proportions of 31.57%, 22.05%, 5.26% and 41.12% respectively. The multiple household benefits of the plants include their use as wild food sources (especially during seasons of food deficit from the main food crops); as traditional medicines for treating both human and livestock diseases; as well as for other purposes such as fuel wood, construction materials, agricultural tools/implements, provision of shade, handcrafts or furniture making. Frequent fire, agricultural land expansion and investment activities, and timber collection and settlement are the major threats encountered in sustainable management of these valuable plants. Therefore, there is a need to design and implement an all inclusive and community-based management strategies in order to ensure their sustainable management and thereby enhance their socio-economic contributions to the communities.

Keywords: Ethno botanical; Nutraceutical; Socio-economic; Food and Healthcare

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