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Using a multi-stakeholder approach to increase value for traditional agroforestry systems: the case of baobab ( Adansonia digitata L.) in Kilifi, Kenya

  • Meinhold, Kathrin1
  • Darr, Dietrich1
  • 1 Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences,
Published Article
Agroforestry Systems
Publication Date
Nov 06, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s10457-020-00562-x
PMCID: PMC7646497
PubMed Central


The baobab tree ( Adansonia digitata L.) is an integral component of many dryland farming systems in sub-Sahara Africa. Such traditional agroforestry systems can foster a variety of benefits; besides positive livelihood implications baobab can particularly address food security objectives due to its highly nutritious fruits. However, many bottlenecks persist inhibiting the broader potential of indigenous trees in farming systems and their increased utilisation and commercialisation. We suggest that traditional farming systems with baobab trees can be advanced by stimulating the emergence of local markets for baobab products while promoting businesses and innovations aimed at meeting the arising market demand. Increasing the perceived value of local agroforestry products in combination with facilitating additional commercialisation pathways will in turn lead to food security and livelihood benefits. Using a multi-stakeholder approach such considerations were put into practice in Kilifi, Kenya, by initiating a community-based enterprise development producing high-quality baobab powder and oil. Initial results demonstrate behavioural changes, an improved practical knowhow with regard to baobab management and utilisation, and an increased consumption of baobab, which may already contribute to food security objectives. Baobab is increasingly seen as a valuable resource as opposed to ‘food for the poor’ and a tree possessed by evil spirits. This may lay the groundwork for further value addition activities and enterprise development in the communities. With baobab being a common, yet so far underutilised feature of local farming systems in Kilifi, activities based on its increasing commercialisation can be complementary and easily integrable to prevailing livelihood strategies.

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