Title : New approach to prioritizing food plants in tree domestication program
Plant formations constitute a natural reservoir for aromatic and medicinal plants (AMPs), essential for the conservation of life and nature, which most local populations use for their health. Despite their socio-economic value, their exploitation by local communities has remained traditional to the detriment of the development of the food and pharmaceutical industry. At the Institute for Medical Research and the Study of Medicinal Plants, a tree domestication program makes it possible to produce foods supplement while ensuring the sustainability of the plant resource in a sustainable economic and ecological system. The aim of this study was to define criteria for the prioritization of plants candidates for domestication. Data were collected through surveys in the Centre, South and Littoral regions of Cameroon as well as through literature review. Based on the new index and considering criteria such as the demand of populations or/and institutions, policy recommendations, the food status of these plants and their socio-economic value, the conservation status of the targeted species, 36 plants were selected as having great socio-economic value. Among them, four main priority species namely Picralima nitida, Nauclea latifolia, Ricinodendron heudelotii and Moringa oleifera have been selected for domestication. These foods and medicinal plants have great potential in the agroforestry system and the development of food supplements.
Keywords: Domestication, prioritization, new index, socio economic plants, conservation