Urban and peri-urban forestry has emerged as a complementary measure to contribute towards eliminating urban hunger and improved nutritional security. However, there is scanty knowledge about the composition, diversity, and socioeconomic contributions of urban food trees in African cities. This paper examines the diversity and composition of the urban forest and food trees of Accra and sheds light on perceptions of urbanites regarding food tree cultivation and availability in the city. Using a mixed methods approach, 105 respondents in six neighborhoods of Accra were interviewed while over 200 plots (100-m2
each) were surveyed across five land use types. Twenty-two out of the 70 woody species in Accra have edible parts (leaves, fruits, flowers, etc.). The food-tree abundance in the city is about half of the total number of trees enumerated. The species richness and abundance of the food trees and all trees in the city were significantly different among land use types (p
< 0.0001) and neighborhood types (p
< 0.0001). The diversity of food-bearing tree species was much higher in the poorer neighborhoods than in the wealthier neighborhoods. Respondents in wealthier neighborhoods indicated that tree and food-tree cover of the city was generally low and showed greater interest in cultivating food (fruit) trees and expanding urban forest cover than poorer neighborhoods. These findings demonstrate the need for urban food policy reforms that integrate urban-grown tree foods in the urban food system/culture.
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