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Use of Raffias’ species (Raphia spp.) and its impact on socioeconomic characteristics of harvesters in Benin (West Africa)

By: Marcel T. Donou Hounsodé, Thierry Houéhanou, Achille E. Assogbadjo, Romain L. Glèlè Kakaï, Clément Agbangla

Key Words: Raphia, Income, Household, NTFP, Benin.

Int. J. Biomol. & Biomed. 5(1), 1-19, July 2016.


Raffias’ species are used in handcrafts, constructions, food processing etc. But in Benin, any quantitative ethnobotanical study was not evaluated for their use and socioeconomic impact of uses on average income. This study investigated the importance of use of raffias’ species and the impact of socioeconomic characteristics of informants on the household income. Ethnobotany quantitative approach was used and data on use, products prices and the quantity sold were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire administered during an interview. The result showed that raffias’ species in Benin are used principally for craft (CI = 1.41 for R. hookeri and 1.68 for R. sudanica), but R. hookeri was most important for people in Guinean zone than those in soudanian and soudano-guinean zones. The frequently uses were the beds, mats, baskets and roofs. The most part of the plant used is the rachis for both species and the less used is the nut. Education level, gender and main activities were socioeconomic variable which influenced the annual income from exploitation of raffias species. The uneducated, men and farmers took more income from raffias’ species than others. Also, the development level of areas where the species are found, influence the income from their exploitations. To evaluate better the contribution of raffias’ species to regional and national gross product, it will be necessary to study the value chain of the main products, but also take into account the informant categories defined in this study regarding operators.


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