Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria
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How much do you know about Bush Mang0?

Bush mango commonly referred to as Irvingia gabonensis, is a tropical fruit tree native to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. It holds significant economic importance due to its nutritional value, medicinal properties, and various economic uses.

One common product from the bush mango is the ogbono seeds, which are harvested fresh around the month of May – June, dried and blended into a powder. It goes well with various swallows, I remember the first time coming across bush mango. It shares a lot of similarities with the normal fruit (mango), I was enthusiastic to see it first hand, the processing and how they sell bush mango during my service year (2017 )at a local town in the southern part of Nigeria.

In this article, we will explore the ultimate secrets to the business of bush mango, different aspects of bush mango’s economic significance and its potential impact on various industries.

What is Bush Mango?

Bush mango, a member of the Irvingiaceae family is a species of an African tree which has been traditionally used by indigenous communities for centuries.

They are mango-like fruits known for their fat and protein-rich nuts in the humid forest zone from the northern tip of Angola, including Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and south-western Uganda

African bush mango grows naturally in canopied jungles, gallery forests, and semi-deciduous forests in tropical wet and dry climate zones. It grows at altitudes ranging from 200 to 500 meters (660 to 1,640 feet), with annual rainfall ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 millimetres (47 to 59 inches).

Temperatures supported range from 20-38 °C (68-100 °F), and soils deeper than 150 cm (59 in) are required, with moderate fertility and adequate drainage. The pH of water can range from 4.5 to 7.5.

  • The outer bark is smooth to scaly and ranges in hue from grey to yellow-grey.
  • The crown is dense, spherical, and evergreen.
  • The leaves are oval, with one edge rounder than the other, acuminate, dark green, and glossy on the upper surface.
  • Flowers in tiny panicles range from yellow to greenish-white and can be bisexual. When ripe, the fruit is roughly spherical, green with vivid orange flesh. The stone is woody and has one seed within. Seeds germinate at the epigeal level (above ground).

However, its economic importance has gained attention globally due to its unique characteristics and potential applications. This article aims to shed light on the economic potential of  the fruit and its role in various industries.

Nutritional Value of Bush Mango

Bush mango is highly valued for its rich nutritional composition. Humans and other creatures like monkeys, gorillas, elephants, and others frequently consume fruits fresh

  • The fruits are made into jelly, jam, juice, and occasionally wine.
  • It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • These essential nutrients contribute to overall health and well-being. Additionally, bush it is known for its high antioxidant content, which helps in neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body.
  • Furthermore, it is rich in dietary fibre, aiding in digestion and promoting a healthy gut.
 Every year, thousands of tons of African bush mango seeds are traded, largely within Africa.

Medicinal Properties of Bush Mango

Traditional Uses of Bush Mango

Indigenous communities have long recognized the medicinal properties of bush mango. They have used various parts of the plant, including the seeds, bark, and leaves, for treating ailments such as diarrhoea, stomachaches, and infections. These traditional uses highlight the therapeutic potential of bush mango.

The pulp has also been used to make black dye for fabric colouring.

Health Benefits of Bush Mango

Research suggests that bush mango may offer several health benefits. It has been studied for its potential to aid in weight loss by suppressing appetite and reducing fat cell growth. The high fibre content in it may contribute to its ability to promote satiety and regulate blood sugar levels.

Additionally, preliminary studies indicate that its extracts may have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects, though further research is needed to validate these claims.

Economic Uses of Bush Mango

Food Industry

Bush mango has gained popularity as a valuable ingredient in the food industry.

  • Its sweet-tasting flesh is used in the preparation of various dishes, desserts, and beverages.
  • To get to the endosperm, the seed coat must be broken open. Seeds, commonly known as dika nuts, are consumed raw or roasted. They are typically pounded to a butter- or chocolate-like block.
  • Seeds can be crushed to generate edible oil (solid at room temperature) or cooking margarine.
  • The oil can also be refined into soap or cosmetics, the press cake can be used as livestock feed or as a soup thickener.
  • The seeds can be ground or crushed and used to thicken and flavour soups and stews.
  • They can also be fashioned into a cake known as “dika bread” for storage.
  • The nuts are frequently used to season chicken and meat dishes in Gabonese cuisine, such as the poulet à l’odika. The ground nuts give the food a smokey flavour.

Pharmaceutical Industry

The medicinal properties of the fruit have attracted the attention of the pharmaceutical industry. Extracts derived from the seeds and leaves of bush mango are being researched for their potential in developing natural remedies and pharmaceutical drugs.

Cosmetic Industry

The cosmetic industry has also recognized the economic potential of bush mango. The oil extracted from the seeds is utilized in the production of skincare products, such as moisturizers, soaps, and lotions. Its high content of fatty acids and antioxidants nourishes the skin and helps in maintaining its health and vitality.

Others include construction (Because the wood is durable, it is utilized for heavy construction work such as ship decks and railway ties), firewood is made from dead branches. The trees are utilized in agroforestry systems to provide shade for other crops, particularly cocoa and coffee. They are also employed in the prevention of erosion.

Cities have begun to use them to shade streets, as shelter belts, and for aesthetic purposes.

Cultivation and Harvesting of Bush Mango

Suitable Climatic Conditions

Bush mango thrives in tropical climates with high humidity and abundant rainfall. It requires a temperature range of 25 to 35 degrees Celsius (77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) for optimal growth. The tree prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, making it suitable for cultivation in rainforest regions.

African Bush mango

Growing Methods

Its tree trees can be propagated through seeds or vegetative methods such as grafting and budding. It takes approximately three to five years for a bush mango tree to bear fruit. Proper care and maintenance, including regular watering and fertilizer application, are essential for healthy growth.

Harvesting Techniques

The fruit of the bush mango tree matures within three to four months after flowering. It is harvested by hand-picking when fully ripe. The seeds, which are enclosed in a fibrous husk, are carefully extracted from the fruit. The seeds are then dried and processed further for various uses.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts of Bush Mango

Threats to Bush Mango Trees

The increasing demand for the fruit and deforestation pose significant challenges to the sustainability of its cultivation. Illegal logging and habitat destruction threaten the natural populations of its trees. Additionally, climate change and pests can also impact the growth and survival of these trees.

Conservation Initiatives

To ensure the long-term existence of the fruit, conservation efforts are being implemented. These initiatives focus on raising awareness about the importance of preserving the species, promoting sustainable harvesting practices, and establishing protected areas for the conservation of its trees. Collaborative efforts between local communities, governments, and environmental organizations play a crucial role in safeguarding the future of the fruit.

a woman processing bush mango locally

The economic importance of the fruit is undeniable, considering its nutritional value, medicinal properties, and diverse applications in various industries. From its role in traditional medicine to its potential in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic sectors, bush mango has proven to be a valuable resource. For more details check out some books to gain more knowledge in Agriculture.

Frequently asked questions (FAQS)

  1. Is bush mango the same as African mango?

No, bush mango, scientifically known as Irvingia gabonensis, is commonly referred to as African mango, but it is a distinct species.

  1. Can bush mango help with weight loss?

Some studies suggest that bush mango may aid in weight loss by suppressing appetite and regulating fat metabolism, but further research is needed to establish its effectiveness.

  1. Are there any side effects of consuming bush mango?

In general, bush mango is considered safe for consumption. However, individual reactions may vary, and it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your diet or using it for medicinal purposes.

  1. Where can I find bush mango products?

Bush mango products, such as supplements, oils, and skincare items, can be found in health food stores, online retailers, and speciality stores focusing on African ingredients.

  1. Can bush mango be cultivated outside of Africa?

While the fruit is native to Africa, efforts have been made to cultivate it in other tropical regions with similar climatic conditions. However, successful cultivation outside of its natural habitat may vary depending on the specific location and environmental factors.

This seed as small as it is can be dried, and stored for quite a period of time before being used. Its high source in foreign stores ‘

You can start a business around the bush mango and we are here to provide you with a helping hand, would be interested in getting started

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