Goron Tula: A ‘miracle’ fruit bringing prosperity to Gombe rural community | Dailytrust

Goron Tula: A ‘miracle’ fruit bringing prosperity to Gombe rural community

The Goron Tula fruits
The Goron Tula fruits

Goron Tula, a sweet and chewy fruit, which resembles Kola nuts, was eaten by the Tula Community of Gombe State for many years as a snack.

However, after ‘research,’ findings revealed that the fruits contain medicinal values and increases fertility rate for female and boost men’s sexual libido, demands for Goron Tula became very high. Even foreigners have been thronging to Tula town to buy the fruit. Our correspondent visited the town and reports.

Azanza Garckeana, popularly known as Goron Tula, is a fruit which is everyday delicacy for the people of Tula, an agrarian highland community in Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe State.

A Goron Tula tree on a maize farm in Tula town

It looks similar to kola nuts, and was said to be peculiar to the Tula town, a community located 15 kilometres off the Gombe-Yola Federal Highway, about 110 kilometres from Gombe, the state capital.

Tula derives its name from the predominant ethnic group that live on the highland, situated at 675 metres above sea level with a rich agricultural land and potentials for tourism.

According to legend, the Tula people were originally from Yemen and were believed to live in that area since their migration alongside other Tangale-Waja tribes of the state hundreds of years ago.

Apart from being a daily delicacy for the Tula people, the Goron Tula tree were believed by the residents to contain some medicinal values such as controlling blood pressure and enhancing sexual libido for men as well as increases fertility rate for women. Remarkably, the tree, when planted elsewhere will not bear fruits.

Although the azanza garckeana tree was also identified in some other African countries like Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, but the tree in Tula town was believed to have distinct and unique specie of the fruit, in terms of sweetness and medicinal value.

Before the recent craze, it was hitherto very cheap and serves as everyday snack of the Tula people.

History of the Goron Tula

“History of Goron Tula is as old as the town itself and the Tula man, because Tula man met the Goron Tula here,” said an elder in the community, Mr Ayuba Tim Tula

He added that their forefathers had earlier told them that the fruit had medicinal value, which they attested to and continued to eat it as food and use other components of the tree as herbs.  Mr Tim explained that the leaves, bark and roots of the tree have healing potential

“The recent rush for the commodity did not come to our community as a surprise, because we have long enjoyed the health benefits from eating the Goron Tula over the years,” he added.

According to Tim, as far back as 1984 while he was working in Azare, he tested the efficacy of the fruit in the area of fertility and libido, after he gave it to a friend whose wife couldn’t conceive after years of marriage and she soon had three children.

Economic boom

The recent craze for Goron Tula fruit has brought economic prosperity and improved living condition in village. Many resident have started small businesses.

A Goron Tula dealer in the town, Alhaji Salisu Adamu Malare, 50, said he has been in the business for the past 10 years, having inherited the trade from his late parents who were in the business before.

“In the past, a bag was not even up to N1, 000 but the price sharply skyrocketed to over N300, 000 per bag and N5, 000 per measure,” he said.

Speaking about the demand, Mr Malare said that they have buyers from all parts of the country and beyond, notably from Kano and Lagos states, Niger Republic and sometimes people even come from China.

“The proceeds from selling the Goron Tula has helped us pay our children’s school fees, married off our children, fend for the family and of course added additional wives (laughter), indeed we have accomplished a lot from the business,” he said.

According to Heman Ephraim Maiyanga, who has a traditional title of Goron Tula of Tula Chiefdom, said being a seasonal tree, preserving the fruit for supply to potential buyers all year round has been their major challenge over the years.

He noted that during harvesting period between December and March, the price is very cheap with a measure going for as low as N2, 500.

“Therefore, we are also calling on the government to find better ways of preserving and processing the fruit to maximize its full value chain, because now we are just selling the raw materials to buyers at a relatively cheap price who in turn processed it and sale at an exorbitant price,” Maiyanga said.

Another challenge faced by the community is preserving the tree from intruders who mostly trespass to the farms and pluck the ripe fruit at night.

“Securing the tree is a major challenge to us because each house in Tula has its distinct specie of the fruit, so any stolen Goron Tula are traced to the people that stole it, this sometime led to quarrel among families,” he said.

Mr Mairiga noted that considering the high cost of Goron Tula during its season and revenue generated to the community, if properly harnessed, the commodity can generate more revenue to the state government.

“The government can improve the process and ensure provision of better storage and processing of the fruit, rather than continue to export the fruit as raw material and purchase its finished produce at even higher cost,” he added.

 Fear of promiscuity among youth

However, while celebrating the economic prosperity brought about by Goron Tula to the community, there is fear among the elders of probable promiscuity among the youths.

Mr Tim said because the fruit increases libido, their children are becoming sexually active at a very young age. “If this is not tackled, we may have a problem at hand by having unprepared youths becoming parents while still schooling.”

Medicinal value of Goron Tula

A Clinical Pharmacist at the Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH), Gombe, Nuhu Abdullahi Momoh, said research has proven the pharmacological contents in the Goron Tula.

“There are a lot of medicinal benefits of Goron Tula which includes reduction of high blood pressure, solving of liver problems, infertility and are also used as immune boosters.

“They are used to treat libido, blood sugar, chest pain and cough, they also have some extracts like Saponins, which decreases absorption of cholesterol, so it tends to reduce obesity in patients,” he said.

Pharmacist Momoh further said that though there are no known drugs produced mainly from Goron Tula, there are extracts of the fruit in the market in form of dietary supplements.

Tula town still underdeveloped

Despite the economic prosperity that the high demand for Goron Tula has brought to the Tula community, they decried the absence of social amenities such as water, electricity, roads and standard health facilities.

In the area of water supply their children have to trek for three hours daily to fetch water for domestic purpose.

Also, a community borehole, sunk by a non-governmental organisation, is always developing fault because of the pressure of thousands of households that depend on it for their daily usage.

Also, a Cottage Hospital in the community lacks adequate and qualified medical personnel and modern equipment to serve the large Tula population.

For instance, an average household in the town has at least 10 children, which was believed to be courtesy of the Goron Tula.

The 15 kilometre road that linked the town to the Gombe-Yola Road is in bad shape with rough asphalt, making it difficult for motorists to ply because of potholes and numerous bends.

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