Tree Aid Ghana in collaboration with Trax Ghana is implementing the Ghana Village Tree Enterprise (VTE) new sites project in the Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo district, Northern region of Ghana to promote small business development based on tree and forest products such as shea, honey, baobab, dawadawa, borassus and moringa among others. The project adopts a Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) approach to entrepreneurial organization and capacity building at the village level to improve local processing and marketing of Non-Timber Forest products (NTFPs) to increase household incomes and food security.
Small forest enterprises represent a promising option for contributing to poverty reduction and resource conservation through sustainable forest management.
Borassus (borassus aethiopum) is one of the promising NTFPs, already generating income for some smallholder farmers of Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo district in the Northern region of Ghana.
A team of Trax Ghana staff embarked on a monitoring visit to ascertain the progress of the VTE project in the Mozio community. During the team’s interaction with some farmers in the community on the benefits derived from Borassus, it came to light that the Borassus fruits with a large, fibrous pulp are consumed raw or cooked. The mature seeds are also buried in pits and allowed to germinate into root tubers popularly called “Borassus yam”, a delicacy that is eaten raw, boiled or processed into Borassus “gari” (granules). Some beekeepers in the community cut the Borassus tree and hollowed out to make beehives for honey production. The branches of the tree are also used for firewood. Young leaves, before unfolding, are split into strips and woven into thin mats, baskets, brooms and other household objects for sale. The wood of Borassus is hard, moderately heavy and brown with black fibres. The strong trunks are very resistant to decay and to insects, especially termites. Some households use Borassus wood for construction and the leaf stalks for making gates of pens or animal cabins.
Borassus has the potential indeed, to contribute significantly to food security and household income of the inhabitants of rural communities.