- 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.
- Exploiting the diversity of African vegetables for improved nutrition: action plan for stakeholders with specific agenda for plant breeders – Enoch G. Achigan-Dako, Laboratory of Genetics, Horticulture and Seed Sciences, Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, BP 2549 Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin
- Impacts and sustainability of farmer seed production activities: a case of the Good Seed Initiative (GSI) project in Tanzania – Monica K. Kansiime, CABI
- Seed is the natural entry point to agroecology for small scale vegetable farmers in Africa – Remi Kahane CIRAD, France.
- Agrobiodiversity, nutrition, and policies: Where are we with the conservation and utilization of African vegetable biodiversity? – Sognigbe N’Danikou World Vegetable Center, Tanzania
- Catalysing strengthening of vegetable value chains in Africa – Elijah Mwashayenyi, East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer
East-West Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT) supports smallholder farmers in the vegetable sector with extension services. By providing long-term technical support, EWS-KT catalyses the uptake of improved production practices in communities struggling with low yields. Over the past few years East-West Seed and its partners went into Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria to support smallholder farmers with training to increase their knowledge and skills. Over 90,000 farmers have been reached in three countries and EWS-KT plans to train a further 100,000 farmers in Africa by the year 2022.
In Tanzania, the project SEVIA (Seeds of Expertse for the vegetable sector in Africa) ran from
2014 till 2020 in Tanzania. SEVIA reached 48,000 farmers. It will continue to publish SEVIA-like experiences in Tanzania and different parts of Africa, like Nigeria and Uganda.
www.sevia.biz is managed by Wageningen University & Research, Team International Projects.
The opportunity comes from the private sector and more specifically from the international vegetable seed industry. Improved varieties and high quality seeds bring high yields per hectare, have built-in resistance for diseases and may be more tolerant to droughts. They therefore bring the potential for climate resilient and income secure production. Only when the farmers are making money, the seed sector can build its markets. From this philosophy, SEVIA sprouted.
- Value addition of vegetables for increased access and consumption by urban consumers – Jane Ambuko, Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, University of Nairobi, Kenya
- Traditional vegetable value chains: A gendered analysis of perceptions of labour, income and expenditure in producers’ and traders’ households – Gundula Fischer, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Tanzania
- A Renaissance on the Plate: A look back at Bioversity International’s research and promotion of African leafy vegetables – Danny Hunter Bioversity International
- Bronwen PowellThe Pennsylvania State University, USA
- Pathways to improved food and nutrition security of the poor: the promise of African indigenous foods and technologies – Sijmen Schoustra NWO-WOTRO, Netherlands
- A sustainable food systems approach to integrate traditional African vegetables in Nakuru, Kenya and Arusha, Tanzania – Koen Dekeyser, Policy Officer Agricultural Transformation for Food Security-Sustainable Food Systems Programme, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
- From royalty to pauper, and back again? How food preferences evolve over time, the role of prices and of marketing. Traditional vegetables have gone from being at the heart of the African table, to totally devalued, but we could change that – Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), UK
- Providing year-round affordable, nutritious foods for low income consumers through commercialization of dried African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) – Mercy Mwende, Sweet and Dried Enterprises Limited, Kenya
- Identifying culturally specific nutrition interventions in Kenya to increase consumption of African indigenous vegetables – Emily Merchant, Rutgers University
- African Traditional Vegetables: From Health and Nutrition to Income Generation – James E. Simon, Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New York, USA
- Diversification and tackling malnutrition in cocoa communities in Cameroon through traditional African vegetable home gardening – Regine Tchientche Kamga, World Vegetable Center
- 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