Title : Harnessing the latest innovations and laying foreground for future of food science and technology
The Kenyan coastal forests in Kilifi have been preserved as Kaya forests under the management of local communities. Eleven (11) out of the more than 50 Kaya forests have been gazetted as national heritage sites. The diversified vegetation in these forests has fulfilled the livelihoods of communities residing around them. A study was conducted to document the knowledge on indigenous food plants and their uses in the communities around Kaya Kauma and Kaya Tsolokero for purposes of documentation. The survey targeted the general population, Kaya elders and herbalists. The population was surveyed on the basis of gender, age, marital status, level of education, main occupation and their relationship to the village. The data was then analysed using Kruskal-Wallis H Test using SPSS Statistics for significant differences between knowledge among the categories of population. This analysis showed significant difference between various categories of population studied. The Kauma forest is surrounded by eighteen (18) villages while Kaya Tsolokero has eight. Influence of education and has contributed to a decline in the indigenous knowledge. The number of food plants documented were 47 and 57 food plants from Kaya Kauma and Kaya Tsolokero, respectively. The number of plants listed by the communities were more than the taxonomically verified plants. The villages around these forests had a total population of 23,617 with 1802 households. Kaya Kauma forest was inhabited by the Kauma, Duruma, Chonyi, Digo, Giriama and Kambe communities while the Chonyi, Giriama, Jibana and Kauma communities inhabited villages around Kaya Tsolokero forest. Kauma community was the most knowledgeable in indigenous flora out of the six (6) tribes living around Kaya Kauma while in Kaya Tsolokero the Chonyi were most knowledgeable among the four (4) communities. It is important to harness this knowledge of communities to improve the livelihoods of the society. This documentation is expected to retain the rich indigenous knowledge of these communities .