This paper examines the contribution of products derived from baobab (Adansonia digitata), shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) and néré (Parkia biglobosa) to rural livelihoods in Burkina Faso. A survey was conducted in northern and southern regions to identify and understand the social and environmental factors influencing the utilization of tree products by rural households for home consumption and commercialization, and to explore the contribution of tree products to food security. Emphasis was placed on the roles and responsibilities of women for tree product utilization. Inter- and intra-household relationships governing tree foods were found to vary between regions and tree species, and with gender and household composition. Collection and utilization of tree products differed between north and south because of contrasting ecological contexts and evolving social mores. Household decision making processes were negotiated and consensual in both regions. The results suggest that domestication and dissemination of planting and regeneration technologies, and product processing and marketing initiatives, need a gendered and tree-specific approach in order to build on local norms and capacities. Measures for the conservation and management of tree resources are most important where ecological constraints are most severe but dependence is greatest for sustaining food security.
- Burkina Faso
- decision making
- food security
- tree foods
- women's roles and responsibilities