African Indigenous Vegetables (AIV) are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals including micro-nutrients, supplementary protein, fibre and calories. Micro-nutrient deficiency threatens nutrition security and also causes hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite their nutritive value, these vegetables have not been a high priority in national food programmes. As a result, adequate resources have not been allocated to promote their production and consumption in the region.
With support from IrishAid, CABI worked with partners to develop training materials for extension staff on vegetables and vegetable seed production. The materials have been used to train extension staff as trainers working with The World Vegetable Centre Humid tropics project and the Uganda Multisectoral Food Security and Nutrition Project. As a result, Ms. Lydia Mukasa, an extension worker in Mukono district has trained 60 Orphans and Vulnerable Care Givers in Mukono district to equip them with skills in establishing vegetable gardens in their homesteads so that they can provide a nutritional balanced diet for their families.
Farmer groups were also trained as local seed businesses and linked to some seed companies in order to increase supply and distribution. Seed supply is however still low and there is the need to increase supply, reach out to more extension staff and farmers and also raise more awareness to increase consumption of these vegetables to fight hidden hunger in sub-Saharan.
by Christine Alokit