African traditional vegetables back on the table

    | April 22, 2013

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    This week’s story from Uganda shows that growing vegetables can bring farmers success. Our script of the week concentrates on traditional African vegetables, and finds that not only farmers, but consumers and others in the value chain can also benefit.

    The African diet was historically rich and varied. Traditional African vegetables are known for their nutritive as well as their medicinal value. More than 300 different species of African traditional vegetables have been eaten in East Africa alone. This number would probably double if we considered the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

    These foods were a big part of people’s diet and culture until “modern” vegetables like cabbage and carrots were introduced. In the past few years, however, traditional vegetables have slowly been regaining popularity. The once neglected vegetables are now being grown by small-scale farmers, sold in open air markets and supermarkets, and eaten by both rural and urban people.

    This script from our most recent Resource Pack in December 2012 captures the experiences of people who have been successfully growing and selling traditional vegetables in Kenya. It shows how farmers can grow traditional vegetables to improve their income and food security.