A new agricultural paper describes the wild, uncultivated fruit that have long been an excellent source of nutrition and ayurvedic medicines in India (Paul, 2013). Due to rapid urbanisation and the concurrent erosion of traditional knowledge, these crops are under threat. Conservation plans need to be developed in order to re-popularise these fruits and preserve their sacred value to local people.
Rapid urbanization process has alienated man from nature. Many wild and minor edible fruit plants are on the verge of extinction; these were supplementary fruit in addition to our elite table fruits like mango (Mangifera indica L), grapes(Vitis vinifera L) litchi(Litchi chinensis), apple (Malus domestica) etc. These fruit have tremendous health benefits and these were in use in Ayurvedic medicine. The wild edible fruits loaded with nutrients play an important role in maintaining livelihood security for many people in developing countries and it constitute significant portion of daily diet of the people of Sub-Himalayan, Himalayan and Lateritic zones of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha. More emphasis is to be given on this less unexplored fruits in relation to conservation andutilization so that the tribal people can get their due share as they have been conserving them for centuries. Food processing and supply of raw material for preparation of Ayurvedic medicine would be the major thrust for popularizing these fruit crops in the Decade of Biodiversity Conservation 2011-2020.
Download the paper here (330kb PDF).