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Focus on... Tree crops

Tree crops offer significant opportunities to generate income for smallholder farmers, as well as foreign exchange and employment. For many poor households tree products contribute to seasonal food security when no other income is available or when other crops fail. Tree crop systems also play a critical role in increasing and sustaining biodiversity, and the integration of trees onto farms can help to increase productivity and profitability of agricultural systems. However tree crops, and non-timber forest products harvested from the wild, are often undervalued.

Conflict, disease and lack of markets are all factors affecting tree crops that feature in this edition of New Agriculturist, as we focus on the people and communities who depend on them and the improved management and marketing that can help to realise the potential of fruit, nuts and other tree products.

Olive oil on troubled waters

Olive oil on troubled waters

According to the Palestinian Farmers Union, olive oil from Palestine has a distinct taste. But market access is a challenge - even local markets have diminished. Zaytoun has been set up to market the oil and hopefully attain the Fairtrade Mark, which will open up valuable markets in Europe.

Date published: September 2006

A good time for Brazil nuts

A good time for Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are an important source of income for smallscale collectors in the Bolivian rainforest, and collectors rely heavily on them for income. Continuing land disputes have hindered Bolivian communities from taking full advantage of the lucrative market for Brazil nuts. But GPS technology is helping to verify their claims.

Date published: September 2006

Fijian breadfruit: pest-free and picker-friendly

Fijian breadfruit: pest-free and picker-friendly

The creation of orchards of low fruiting trees, combined with an efficient quarantine treatment process, are raising the export potential of Fijian breadfruit.

Date published: September 2006

Cures fit for a king

Cures fit for a king

Durian is highly prized in Southeast Asia for its flavour as well as the premium price it fetches in the marketplace. But severe losses to Phytophthora disease is one of the major constraints to productivity.

Date published: September 2006

Hunza apricots: reaching great heights

Hunza apricots: reaching great heights

In north west Pakistan, apricots are an essential source of earnings. But seasonal gluts in production often mean that the fruits rot before they are consumed or sold. The Mountain Fruits Company (MFC), with the help of Tropical Wholefoods and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) have built a purpose built factory to solar - dry and package the fruit.

Date published: September 2006

African cashews: stimulating an entrepreneurial approach

African cashews: stimulating an entrepreneurial approach

Civil conflict, ailing trees and the impact of trade liberalisation policies resulted in the virtual collapse of cashew production in Mozambique. However, a business model for smallscale manual processing plants is revitalising the industry.

Date published: September 2006

Cutting it fine for cork?

Cutting it fine for cork?

Cork harvesting has been a way of life in southern Portugal for at least a thousand years but the advent of plastic and screw top alternatives to natural cork wine stoppers is putting a unique cultural and natural heritage at risk. In response, standards are being raised and the FSC certification scheme has been introduced to raise awareness about the importance of cork.

Date published: September 2006

Marula - Africa's 'treasure tree'

Marula - Africa's 'treasure tree'

Few African trees are held in such high esteem by indigenous peoples as the majestic marula for the multitude of uses in terms of diet and culture. However, fruit quality and quantity vary from tree to tree and year to year, so identifying productive cultivars has been an ongoing research priority.

Date published: September 2006

 

 

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