The Department of Agro Enterprise Development of Ho Technical University has developed a new baobab, with a shorter gestation period, compared to the regular one, known scientifically as Adansonia digitata.
The plant, which a is research experiment being undertaken by a team led by the Head of Department, Dr. Fafa Egbadzor, took 27 months of laboratory and field work to begin flowering.
According to the lead researcher, their work was to help domesticate the ancient huge baobab plant, which has enormous economic value.
“Despite the usefulness of baobab, it remains undomesticated and underutilized but we are happy to announce that, we at Ho Technical University have broken the barriers to enlighten Ghanaians and for that matter, Africa of the economic impact of cultivating baobab”.
Starting from the seed, baobab can take 27 months to flower, Dr. Egbadzor announced to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ben Honyenuga and his management team, during a visit to the research farm on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
He explained that, unlike the regular giant baobab plant with huge fruits, the new experimented plant is very small, making it easy to be cultivated in a domestic environment, and on a large scale.
Dr. Egbadzor noted that, though baobab has several hundreds of uses, cutting across various industries, such medicine, food & beverage, cosmetics and arts, the wild and natural occurring baobab plant cannot meet local and international demands, unless it is domesticated and cultivated on purpose.
He therefore called for stakeholders’ attention to the plant, which he believed, could wield more economic value than cocoa. “…for that and many other reasons, we are advocating for baobab to be added to the tree crops selected by government of Ghana for development”
The Vice-Chancellor, in a remark, lauded the team of researchers for their exploits to domesticate and shorten the maturity of the ancient baobab plant.
“We have never seen a baobab tree which can fruit within 2 years but this project has proven that, it is possible. So I congratulate the team working on it and I hope when this phase is successful, we can now scale up the cultivation, to enable our Food Technology department process the fruits.” He further called for external support to deepen the research capacity of the University in other areas.
Accompanying the Vice-Chancellor, were the Ag. Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Edward Ayimey; the Registrar, Dr. Christopher Amehoe; the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology, Professor Christopher Mensah, other Deans, Directors and Heads of Department.
By: HTU Public Affairs Office