Ketchu Pepper

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Ketchu is a particular variety of black pepper that is harvested in the forests in the areas of Mambasa and Djugo in the northeastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It grows in the forests during the rainy season, and harvesting starts at the very beginning fo the dry season, when the fruits begin to turn yellow in color. The collected ketchu fruits are dried in the sun and crushed in a mortar. The resulting powder is then used to give a special flavor to tea. Indigenous people believe that ketchu also has some medicinal virtues.   Ketchu is a very rare product, harvested during a short period once per year. It is mainly harvested for the purpose of home consumption, but small quantities of excess amounts of ketchu are sold on the market, where it sells very quickly. Therefore, it is not easy to find it for sale commercially. It is estimated that about 6 tons of ketchu is harvested in this area annually. As a wild product, it must be harvested sustainably and with care; but some individuals are so eager to obtain ketchu, they harvest it before it is completely ripened. The survival and production of these plants is also dependent on climactic conditions. If rains are particularly heavy, ketchu will spoil before it ripens. 

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Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Indigenous community:Bangwana, Lendu-Bindi, Nyali and Babila