PALM WINE TAPPING METHODS AMONG IDOMA AND TIV ETHNIC GROUPS OF BENUE STATE, NIGERIA: IMPLICATIONS ON CONSERVATION OF PALM TREES (Elaeis guineensis)
Onuche, P.; Shomkegh S. A. and Tee T. N.
Journal Title:Journal of Environmental Issues and Agriculture in Developing Countries
Some methods employed in tapping wine from palm trees may affect the life span of the palm tree. This study investigated the methods of tapping wine from palm trees (Elaesis guineensis) among the Idoma and Tiv ethnic groups of Benue State. The aim was to examine the implication of the palm wine tapping methods on the conservation of the palm trees in the study area. Applying a multi-stage sampling technique, 150 respondents were sampled and interviewed using semistructured questionnaire to generate data. This was backed up with field observations of various palm wine tapping methods to gather the required information. The result identified three palm wine tapping methods namely inflorescent flower, terminal budding and felling of palm trees. The inflorescent flower method practiced in Idoma areas had all the trees tapped surviving while none of the trees tapped using felling the tree method in both communities survived. The inflorescent flower tapping method adopted by majority of tappers in the Idoma ethnic group was found to be more sustainable for palm wine tapping as it ensures survival of trees tapped, providing for the palm wine needs of today and future generations. However, terminal budding method of palm wine tapping associated with Tiv ethnic group is destructive because only a fraction of one quarter palm trees survived after tapping. Creating awareness on palm treefriendly tapping methods and conservation strategies among the tapping community in these ethnic groups will improve the availability of living palm trees for continuity of use.