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The cultivation of wild food and medicinal plants for improving community livelihood: The case of the Buhozi site, DR Congo

  • Karhagomba, Innocent Balagizi ;
  • Adhama, Mirindi T. ;
  • Mushagalusa, Timothee B. ;
  • Nabino, Victor B. ;
  • Koh, Kwangoh ;
  • Kim, Hee Seon
  • Received : 2013.08.05
  • Accepted : 2013.11.20
  • Published : 2013.12.01

Abstract

This study aims to demonstrate the effect of farming technology on introducing medicinal plants (MP) and wild food plants (WFP) into a traditional agricultural system within peri-urban zones. Field investigations and semi-structured focus group interviews conducted in the Buhozi community showed that 27 health and nutrition problems dominated in the community, and could be treated with 86 domestic plant species. The selected domestic MP and WFP species were collected in the broad neighboring areas of the Buhozi site, and introduced to the experimental field of beans and maize crops in Buhozi. Among the 86 plants introduced, 37 species are confirmed as having both medicinal and nutritional properties, 47 species with medicinal, and 2 species with nutritional properties. The field is arranged in a way that living hedges made from Tithonia diversifolia provide bio-fertilizers to the plants growing along the hedges. The harvest of farming crops does not disturb the MP or WFP, and vice-versa. After harvesting the integrated plants, the community could gain about 40 times higher income, than from harvesting farming crops only. This kind of field may be used throughout the year, to provide both natural medicines and foods. It may therefore contribute to increasing small-scale crop producers' livelihood, while promoting biodiversity conservation. This model needs to be deeply documented, for further pharmaceutical and nutritional use.

Keywords

Integrated agriculture;peri-urban zone;medicinal plants;wild food plants;community building

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