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Project log

Elie A. Padonou
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This project (IDRC grant N° 109625-001) will contribute to the adoption of clean and environmentally friendly technologies for women entrepreneurs in the mangrove regions of Benin. The project aims to create sustainable and environmentally friendly businesses for women by developing solar cooker technology for salt production and fish smoking as well as the production and use of compost for market gardening. These three activities (salt production, fish smoking and market gardening) constitute the three main income-generating activities carried out by women in this region of Benin. These activities mainly use firewood and charcoal as an energy source, with negative effects on women's income, their health and the environment. The project is part of IDRC's support activities for applied development research in West Africa, and a continuation of the successful initiative on Economic Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women.
 
L. Fantondji
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Abstract- Introduction. This study was set-up to assess the local perception on morphological differentiation within sweet African bush mango tree (Irvingia gabonensis) in southwestern Benin. Materials and methods. Locally acknowledged morphotypes (LAM) and local differentiation criteria were determined, using group discussions with 60 farmers. A total of 120 trees distributed between the fixed LAM were randomly sampled with farmers’ aid. The trees were morphologically characterized based on their leaves (length and width), fruit (length, diameter and mass), seeds (length, diameter and mass), kernels (mass) and fruit flesh (mass and depth). The owners of the 120 trees were questioned for their LAM preference, number of owned LAM trees, propagation methods, and taboos. Data were analyzed through a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Results and discussion. Three LAM were differentiated: (1) a pasty morphotype named “woto”, (2) an aqueous morphotype named “shito” and, (3) an intermediate morphotype. The MANOVA revealed that contrary to farmers’ perceptions, the accurate prediction of LAM on the field was hard (P > 0.05). However, canonical discriminant analysis indicated an overall significant morphological difference between the three LAM (P < 0.001). Although farmers preferred pasty and intermediate LAM, the aqueous LAM was most abundantly found on farms. Twelve taboos and their potential negative impacts were unanimously recognized in the context of I. gabonensis management. Most farmers admitted to have already broken these taboos, particularly the taboo prohibiting plantation of the species. Conclusion. This study highlights an ongoing but stagnating local domestication process for this species. A progressive breaking of non-profitable taboos appears to be a gate for a guided selection process. Keywords: Benin; agroforestry systems; plant domestication; local perception; morphometric parameters