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Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) in tropical Latin America: implications for biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and human nutrition

Sophie Graefe, Dominique Dufour, Maarten van Zonneveld, Fernando Rodriguez, Alonso Gonzalez
Biodiversity and conservation 2013 v.22 no.2 pp. 269-300
Bactris gasipaes var. gasipaes, agroforestry, biodiversity, farmers, food security, fruits, genetic resources, human nutrition, human resources management, income, indigenous species, markets, natural resource management, private enterprises, processing market, product quality, screening, stakeholders, starch, supply chain, Latin America
Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) is a multi-purpose palm tree native to tropical Latin America, which is predominantly cultivated by smallholders in agroforestry systems. The fruits are rich in starch and contribute importantly to food security and the cash income of farmers who cultivate them. Complex value chains have emerged that link producers to consumers, but irregular product quality and market chain inequalities undermine the economic well-being of producers and retailers. Peach palm is genetically diverse, but screening for traits of commercial and nutritional interest is required to enhance the use of its genetic resources. Alliances between public organizations and private enterprises are needed to realize the potential for processing novel products from peach palm, especially in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. The diverse challenges that emerge at different stages of production, processing and marketing require participatory research that directly involves stakeholders from the beginning.