Project Inception Workshop Report, November 2014
Enhancing nutrition security and incomes through adding value to indigenous vegetables in East and Central Uganda
Genesis of the project
• Africa is home to hundreds of indigenous vegetables with high nutritive value, a potential that is hardly being used to contribute to the nutrition and food security of the region (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11763)
• They are grown locally on a small scale, often resistant to diseases and tolerant to environmental stresses.
• The potential of indigenous vegetables emanates from their superior adaptation to local environmental conditions without too much investment is
• However, this potential is hardly exploited in the fight against malnutrition, hunger, and poverty.
• Approximately 50% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is affected by deficiency in vitamins and minerals (Tulchinsky and Varavikova, 2009)
• Average consumption of vegetables and fruits in E. Africa is approximated at 200g/person/day, which is far below the WHO recommended minimum intake of 490g/person/day (FAO, 2010).
• In Uganda, 21% of the population is classified as under nourished and 38% of children malnourished (FAO, 2011), mostly evident in the Northern and eastern parts of the country (www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1683e/i1683e.pdf)
• Indigenous vegetables contain vitamins and minerals which are essential in the absorption and metabolism of food ingested by the body (e.g. as β-carotene, vitamins C and E, folates, iron and calcium)
• Indigenous vegetables are also known to contain substantial amounts of antioxidants that scavenge for and bind to harmful radicals, which have been linked to ailments such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
• Indigenous vegetables improve palatability and add variety to diets, especially for the poor http://www.ifpri.org/publication/east-african-agriculture-and-climate-change-0
What is the problem?
However, indigenous vegetables have not been mainstreamed in the staple diets of potential consumers because of inconsistency in supply and poor quality of products due to
a) seasonality of supply,
b) long distances between production areas and potential consumption centres
c) poor post-harvest handling.
The project funding
The Department of Agricultural Sciences, UCU has obtained support (Euro 250,000) from the EU for three years through an initiative of the Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) funded through Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). PAEPARD supports sustained partnership that mobilizes resources for priority projects that combine African and European institutional and financial resources for mutually advantageous projects.
The project entitled ‘Enhancing nutrition security and incomes through adding value to indigenous vegetables in East and Central Uganda’ is led by:
Uganda Christian University (UCU), Department of Agricultural Sciences and Entrepreneurship (Contact persons Dr Elizabeth Kizito and Dr Michael Masanza)
in partnership with
Farmgain Africa (www.farmgainafrica.org), a private firm specializing in agricultural market analysis, value chain development, market information systems and market linkage. (Contact person. Dr John Jagwe)
CHAIN Uganda (www.chainuganda.org), a CBO which builds the capacity of small holder farmers through supporting formation and coordination of self help groups to effectively transition from subsistence levels to commercial farming for improved incomes and livelihoods. (contact person Dr Apolo Kasharu)
Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. NRI is world renowned for its work in supporting food security, sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction. It has vast experience working with durable and perishable crops after harvest to reduce losses, enhance financial or nutritional crop-value, and assure food safety. (Contact person: Dr Deborah Rees)
This project is about increasing consumption of indigenous vegetables which, despite being rich in certain essential vitamins and minerals, are not very much consumed hence leading to qualitative malnutrition mostly among children and women. This project intends to improve post harvest handling of indigenous African vegetables in order to prolong their shelf life and hence increase their consumption in nutritionally vulnerable populations while increasing revenue of those engaged in their production.
The objectives of the project:
i. Better knowledge of indigenous vegetable varieties with prolonged shelflife.
ii. Increased knowledge about technologies and processes for prolonging shelflife of indigenous vegetables
iii. Better understanding of efficient delivery pathways for value added indigenous vegetables to end-markets.
The results expected:
R1. Varieties of indigenous vegetables with longer shelflife and processing potential identified and profiled
R2. Appropriate processing and handling mechanisms/technologies for indigenous vegetables adopted
R3. Appropriate delivery pathways of value-added indigenous vegetables established. Little work has been undertaken on understanding and managing the supply chains of indigenous vegetables.
R4. Information sharing mechanisms on utilisation of indigenous vegetables established
Crops in focus:
• African nightshades (Solanum villosum and Solanum scabrum),
• African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum)