Socio-Economic Values and Ecological Importance of Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del. in Sahelian Agrosystems in western Niger

  • Abdoulaye Rafiou Ousmane Laboratory of Management and Valorisation of Biodiversity in the Sahel, Niger
  • Maman Maârouhi Inoussa Laboratory of Management and Valorisation of Biodiversity in the Sahel, Niger
  • Maman Laouali Adamou Ibrahim Laboratory of Management and Valorisation of Biodiversity in the Sahel, Niger
  • Abdourazak Alio Moussa Laboratory of Management and Valorisation of Biodiversity in the Sahel, Niger
  • Yacoubou Bakasso Laboratory of Management and Valorisation of Biodiversity in the Sahel, Niger
Keywords: Balanites aegyptiaca, socio-economic values, ethnobotany, agro-climatic zones, Niger


Balanites aegyptiaca contributes strongly to the resilience of Sahelian populations. All the organs of B. aegyptiaca are used either for food, medicinal purposes or for other services. However, very few studies on the socioeconomic importance of B. aegyptiaca have been conducted in Niger. The main objective of this study was to valorize the knowledge of the populations on the uses of B. aegyptiaca in the Sudan-Sahelian agrosystems of Niger. The study was conducted in the Dosso region. The region was chosen based on its two main agro-climatic zones, characterized by the scarcity of the species in the south and its abundance in the north. A survey was carried out in February 2021 to assess the diversity of uses. The findings revealed that the uses of B. aegyptiaca products are very diversified and varied considerably accross agro-ecological zones. The types of use varied significantly among ethnic groups. The Hausa possessed 88.26% of the use, the Zarma 14.47%, the Peulh 2.63%, the Songhai 1.32%, and Touareg 1.32%. All parts of B. aegyptiaca are used in traditional pharmacopoeia to threat various human and animal illnesses. 68.00% of respondents reported the interaction between Balanites and crops as very beneficial. B. aegyptiaca is prone to a variety of threats. Hence, 97.30% of respondents acknowledged the existence of several diseases and/or insect pests that affect Balanites' organs. Given the importance of this species in the region, more research is required to quantify its contribution to rural household food security and resilience.


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