Because so many Allanblackia trees were felled for firewood in recent decades, there are not enough wild trees to supply seeds for oil production. Tree nurseries are now starting to grow Allanblackia from wild seeds to provide trees for local farmers and forest restoration efforts. The saplings at the nurseries now will be essential for meeting future demand.

Supplying the market

Allanblackia trees can take up to seven years to bear fruit, and farmers are often reluctant to invest in a tree that requires them to wait so long to start seeing returns on their investment. Nurseries where Allanblackia is a new crop often give the seedlings to farmers to grow alongside cocoa and other crops.

From seed to fruit

Horticulturalists at the nurseries are working to find natural and sustainable ways to speed up the germination and fruiting processes. In Ghana and Tanzania, both private and government-supported nurseries have taken on the challenge of domesticating Allanblackia and have had significant success.

By incorporating natural techniques such as removing the seeds from their hard shells before planting them in black plastic bags and using soil from underneath the mother trees as fertilizer, local nurseries have been able to accelerate the time it takes for seeds to germinate.

Nurseries have also had success replanting seedlings from under wild trees, and the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) is also conducting research into the sustainable domestication of Allanblackia.

Allanblackia: A tree for Africa and its people