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Jambula, a multipurpose tree

By Sauda Nabatanzi

Added 6th July 2017 12:22 PM

When fully mature, the tree grows up to 100 feet high and about 12 feet wide.

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When fully mature, the tree grows up to 100 feet high and about 12 feet wide.

(Credit: Sauda Nabatanzi)

AGRIBUSINESS


Many of you hold fond childhood memories. And if you so happened to be the hyper type, you probably might have climbed a tree bearing small dark purple juicy fruits with one big seed in the middle.

If you missed out on that part of growing up, then you would never know how delicious jambula tasted!

This is a fruit-tree common in Uganda and several other parts of the world, especially in tropical and sub-tropical nations.

Also known as java plum, a jambula tree can survive almost anywhere; forests, gardens, backyards, name it. And it can live up to 100 years, according to Isaac Ssemwanga, a farmer in Sseta.

When fully mature, the tree can grow up to 100 feet high and about 12 feet wide, hence a good source of shade.

Ssemwanga says usually, by May to July, the fruits are ripe, attracting humans, birds and all sorts of insects.

“They are mainly harvested for home consumption, but some people, especially women, sell small quantities along city streets and markets,” he adds.

At most city markets, jambula is sold in basins and baskets where a basin can go for about sh8,000 while for small quantity buyers a plate costs sh1,000

 

Along Luwum Street and markets outside town, the same plate can go for half the price at sh500.

Nutritionists recommend that it is not only the fruits that are filled with nutritional and medicinal benefits, but almost all parts of the jambula tree.

Josephine Muteesi, a nutritionist in Kabalagala, says the bark and leaves of a java plum tree are taken to relieve abdominal malfunctions like dysentery and acute diarrhea

“After washing them thoroughly, boil them in water till they start appearing ready, let it cool and take it twice a day,” she explains.

Today, however, the trees and fruit are at risk of being lost because they are being overharvested for timber production in the areas the fruit grows.

“Due to their strong and water-resistant wood, jambula trees are used in making cheap furniture,” says Samueal Kalibala, a carpenter in Kawempe.​

 

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