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By P.R. Johnson, E.J. Green,
M. Crowhurst, C.J. Robinson
RIRDC Publication No 06/022
RIRDC Project No DAW-108A
The first preliminary study
conducted on the Australian Boab Adansonia gregorii demonstrated that the
species has many of the characteristics that make it suitable for a commercial
vegetable crop. From the agronomic perspective many aspects of boab production
can be mechanised and potentially it can be a fast growing high yielding
crop with limited pest and disease issues. From the consumerís perspective
boab appears to be a very versatile product that maintains its integrity
when cooked, has a good crisp texture and a highly acceptable flavour.
The product has high protein content for a vegetable, and is also high
in iron and potassium. The leaves also have a very high vitamin C content.
From the marketerís point
of view, boab is a completely new product that attracts consumer curiosity
and the tree has local iconic value which adds widely to its appeal.
What is the report about
The preliminary study identified
a number of impediments which need addressing for commercialization including
consistent seed germination and market and supply chain development.
The current study examined
in detail the seed germination issue and has found that the Adansonia gregorii
seed requires a minimum 250 C soil surface ( to 5 cm) for any germination
to take place. The optimum minimum temperature required is 270 C with 300
C for maximum germination and plant growth. High moisture content between
80 - 90% field capacity is also required to break seed dormancy. Seed age
was found to play an important role in germination and different treatments
need to be applied to the seed depending on the age of the material.
Implications for industry
Most aspects of boab root
production such as seed extraction, sowing and harvesting of the crop can
be mechanised. Uniform seed germination would be a necessary requirement
for mechanised harvesting as irregular germination would create excessive
Boab produce is ideally stored
and transported at 3 OC , though given volumes of production are small,
consideration needs to be given to the produce which normally shares the
remaining transport load (eg melons stored at 5 OC).
Market development has been
approached from several different angles including creating public awareness
through television, radio and print media; product use development through
the catering industry resulting in the development of a recipe booklet
on how to use the product, and consumer sampling. The product arouses a
high degree of consumer interest although most do not have any idea of
how to use it. An ongoing consumer education and promotion program is essential
for the product to break in to the mainstream markets.