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Hyphaene species, economic potential, food and nutrition, natural resource, climate change
Hyphaene, commonly referred to as mkoche (Plural Mikoche) and in Swahili, is a species belonging to the Palmae (Arecaceae) family and is found in various parts of Africa, including Maputaland coastal plains in southern Mozambique, Turkana, Samburu, and Marsabit in Kenya, and the coastal regions of Tanzania and Kenya. Despite its widespread presence and resistance to climate change, the economic potential of mikoche in Tanzania has yet to be fully unlocked. Therefore, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify the various uses of the Hyphaene tree globally, which could further be fully exploited within Tanzania. The findings revealed that the fruit of the Hyphaene tree is a good source of fibre, antioxidants, B-complex vitamins, essential minerals, monosaccharides, essential oil, and flavonoids, which are important compounds for human nutrition and health. In addition, H. coriacea produces edible nuts and palm wine in Maputaland coastal plains in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and H. coriacea is known to produce edible oil from its nuts. Furthermore, the tree is used as a construction material for shelter, and its leaves are used to make woven products such as baskets, mats, and hats due to their strength and fibre length. Therefore, with favourable conditions for mikoche growth in Tanzania, particularly in the coastal regions, mikoche can contribute to the economy by using its various parts to produce food and non-food products. However, further research is required to understand the diversity of uses, consumption constraints, and opportunities for mikoche as a natural resource in Tanzania.