Local plants for food and health security in Sahel countries: Case of an area in the layout of the Great Green Wall of Burkina Faso

Author(s): Alphonsine Ramde -Tiendrebeogo , Esae S. Yanogo, Roger Zerbo, Sylvin Ouedraogo, Bakary Diakite, Innocent Pierre Guissou

Statement of the Problem: According to a recent report of United Nations, one-third (1/3) of the population of developing countries estimated at two thousand million persons are defi cient in vitamins or in micronutrients. Particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, at least 237 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment. Also, deforestation, drought, desertifi cation caused by anthropogenic activities and climate change are causing accelerated land degradation and affecting the yield of staple food crops. In addition to these worrisome environmental issues, global health security is threatened by new infectious diseases emerging or re-emerging, highly virulent and communicable. Traditional diets based on the consumption of cereals, vegetables, fruits are replaced by diets rich in fat with a high energy density and a signifi cant amount of meat-based foods. It is therefore urgent to explore medicinal foods (or natural nutraceuticals) that would contribute to strengthen the resilience of populations to climate variability and extreme events. The aim of this study is to provide scientifi c documentation on both nutritious and therapeutic plants of the province of Oubritenga in central Burkina Faso. Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: The targeted study population was women and traditional healers for collection of data on food and therapeutic use of plants. Findings: Twenty fi ve (25) nutritional species with therapeutic virtues and high use values (UVs ≥ 0.50) have been identifi ed. Results also showed that leaves and fruits were the most consumed parts (48%). Leaves were also the most used in medicinal recipes (54%). The trunk bark and fruits were recommended at 28% and 7% respectively. The presence of numerous mineral elements, vitamins, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and important chemical groups with well-known biological properties justify the use of these therapeutic food plants. Conclusion & Signifi cance: Traditional foods can be an important track in fi nding solutions to chronic disease and malnutrition as well as ensuring food and health security in low income- countries.