Welcome to the Priority Food Tree and Crop Food Composition database.
The database contains information on the composition of selected tree foods and crops with geographical focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
Tree foods are nutritious edible foods from trees and shrubs including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and edible oils. Next to these foods, pulses, cereals and starchy roots and tubers are included.
The current version (version 1) contains 132 foods (out of 99 species) and 30 components. All component values are presented per 100 g edible portion on fresh weight basis (EP).
In addition to actual food composition values the database includes scores for all foods for whether they are a “high source”, “source”, “present, but low source”, or “not a source” of the selected micronutrients iron, vitamin A, folate and vitamin C.
Searches can be done by food name, scientific name and by food group.
Why was the database developed?
Food composition data play a key role in linking agriculture to nutrition. Knowing what people eat and which nutrients the consumed foods contain is key in assessing and improving diet quality and health. It is equally important for agriculture, including domestication and breeding programs to select not only high-yielding, but highly nutritious species (Welch and Graham, 1999; Toledo and Burlingame, 2006; Burlingame et al., 2009). The database was created during the implementation of the “Food Tree and Crop” portfolios developed by World Agroforestry. The portfolios are combinations of indigenous/underutilized and exotic food tree and crop species that can potentially provide year-round nutritious foods to address harvest and nutrient gaps in local diets (McMullin et al., 2019). In order to address certain “nutrient gaps” in a site, food tree species and others were mapped with food composition data. For the portfolios, the micronutrients iron, vitamin A (expressed as retinol equivalent), folate and vitamin C were selected. These nutrients were picked because of their public health concerns (iron, vitamin A, folate), their supportive functions (vitamin C supports the uptake of iron from plant foods) and their natural high quantity in tree foods (iron, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C). Tree foods, contain however, many other important vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that are of importance to the human body. To sustain all body functions and hence a healthy life, a well-balanced diet, containing a variety of safe and nutritious foods is key. Therefore, the collection of food composition data has been extended to proximates, vitamins and minerals. The database presents the backbone of the portfolios, but can also be used for dietary assessments, the development of education materials, the selection of nutritious species for agricultural domestication and breeding programs and many more activities. It is a work in progress and will be updated on a regular basis.