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Summary of full report
Commercialisation of Boab Tubers

By P.R. Johnson, E.J. Green, M. Crowhurst, C.J. Robinson

September 2006

RIRDC Publication No 06/022  RIRDC Project No DAW-108A

    Executive Summary

    Background
    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.

    Methods used
    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 waste.

    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.

           
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Last updated: August 2006
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