The potential of domesticating grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta), a non-timber forest product in off-reserve tree farms
With the ravages of deforestation, Aframomum melegueta (grains of paradise) is gradually getting extinct, despite its potential for consumption and trade. This study sought to find out land uses in off-reserve tree farms capable of providing the optimum conditions for the production of grains of paradise. The Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with three replications was used to lay the plots and the treatments examined were cocoa, oil palm, and fallow land uses. Also, the ethnobotanical knowledge of farmers was studied by purposively sampling a total of 30 Aframomum melegueta farmers. The results showed no significant (P > .05) difference for the number of pods, fresh weight, and yield of Aframomum melegueta per hectare among the different land uses. On the other hand, the average pod length significantly differed (P < .05) between land uses (cocoa, oil palm, and fallow). The majority of farmers (21%) use Aframomum melegueta for the treatment of stroke. Gender and education of farmers did not play a significant role in sources of collection and land use preference of Aframomum melegueta respectively. The major challenge confronting the cultivation of Aframomum melegueta was the lack of an external market (33.3%). The majority of farmers preferred fallow land (73.9%) for the cultivation of Aframomum melegueta. The cultivation of Aframomum melegueta in off-reserve tree farms could help increase the quantity produced and thus improve the livelihood of farmers. Farmers are encouraged to plant the species on their cocoa farms, oil palm farms, and fallow lands.