VIRTUAL EVENT: All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables

VIRTUAL EVENT: All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables

25-26 January 2021 Power on Your Plate: All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables to Increase Health, Nutrition and Wealth

Power on Your Plate is a call for action: for increased investment, regional R&D programs, and policies to promote traditional vegetables at national and regional levels and fully integrate traditional vegetables into Africa’s food systems. 
With more than 20% of Africa’s population undernourished and close to one-third food insecure, it is clear that food systems must change—to nourish people, not merely feed them. Africa is home to a large number of plant species with the potential to invigorate the continent’s horticultural value chain — yet whether consumed as nutritious food or used as the foundation for natural health products, these traditional vegetables remain untapped and underutilized. 
  • From an estimated 6,400 species of useful indigenous plants, about 300 are traditional vegetables and about 126 species are widely known and used throughout the continent
  • Traditional vegetables support nutrition-sensitive agriculture under climate change because they generally are more nutrient-dense than most commercial vegetable crops, they have lower water requirements, are adapted to poor quality soils, and have higher resistance to pests and diseases. 
  • The biodiversity of traditional vegetables is endangered by displacement with high energy staple crops, the fact that most traditional vegetables are not registered in national catalogues, lack of promotion and support for their use, lack of human resources capacity focusing on traditional vegetables, and lack of conservation infrastructure. 
  • Because of their relatively low commercial value, no significant research investmenthas been made for traditional vegetables; crop improvement options have not been fully explored and genetic resources are poorly conserved. 
  • Only a very few African traditional vegetables have become widely adopted across the continent. African eggplant and okra are now grown on large areas and improved varieties are successfully commercialized. In some regions, amaranth is about to turn from an underutilized vegetable to a mainstream grain and vegetable crop. These success stories show that research and breeding can convert underutilized traditional vegetables into commercially successful crops. 
  • Other traditional vegetables could take a similar path if research would help to unlock their potential for income generation and nutrition for the benefit of local resource-poor populations.

Extracts for the program

HIGH-LEVEL PANEL Advancing the Continental Agenda on Traditional African Vegetables 
  • Moderator: Ms. Susan Mugwe 
  • Ms. Jacqueline MkindiCEO of Tanzania Horticulture Association 
  • Prof. Siza Tumbo Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Tanzania 
  • Mr. Arvin Takadi Manager, Food Lovers supermarket chain Malawi/South Africa 
  • Mr. James Mwangi Group Managing Director, Equity Bank, Kenya 
  • Ms. Ediltruda Temba Marketing Manager, East West Seed, Tanzania 
  • Dr. Morris Akiri Regional Director, CABI, Kenya 
  • Ms. Mboka MwanituPrincipal Business Development Officer, Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank, Tanzania 
  • Ms. Judy MatuNational Chairlady, Association of Women in Agriculture in Kenya (AWAK) 
  • Amb. Peter Mutuku Mathuki Executive Director, East African Business Council 
  • Mr. Abdulmajid Nsekela CEO, CRDB and Chairman, Tanzania Bankers Association 
  • Dr. Lawrence Haddad Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), UK

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