Participatory evaluation of vegetables to enhance household nutrition in forest garden areas in Ethiopia

S.K. Kriesemer, G.B. Keding, E. Etissa, S.M. Nischalke, H. Jaenicke
Vegetables can play a significant role in improving peoplesRSQUO nutrition, generating income and reducing poverty. The present study investigated which vegetables and locally available edible plants would be best suited for cultivation in the multi-storey cropping system of the Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere Reserve's Transition Zone, in Ethiopia. A comprehensive species list was compiled based on a literature review and expert consultations. Plant photo cards were reviewed and pre-selected by a local botanist who assigned local names. Then the cards were presented to eight focus groups of men and women separately in four communities in the Biosphere Reserve. Focus group discussions revealed five selection criteria as being important to farmers. The plants nutritional value was included as a criterion for selection based on the combination of micronutrients likely to be deficient in the project area: iron, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C. In total, six criteria were combined in a composite indicator comparing equal and differential criteria weighting. Thirty-one edible wild herbaceous plants were reported from the project area. Twenty-three species were suggested by experts. Relevant selection criteria brought forward by farmers were; (1) minimal damage to coffee roots at harvest; (2) ease at coffee harvest; (3) canopy competition; and (4) tolerance to shade. Farmers' (5) knowledge and opinion about suggested plants as well as the (6) calculated nutrition index were also considered. The ten most suitable plants identified were cowpea, amaranths, African nightshade, Ethiopian kale, spider plant, jute mallow, physalis, asparagus, pigeon pea and cucurbits (for leaf production). The list of plants was identical for the equal and differential weighing, but the ranking did differ slightly. These plants were suggested to farmers who selected four crops for field testing in a participatory manner.
Kriesemer, S.K., Keding, G.B., Etissa, E., Nischalke, S.M. and Jaenicke, H. (2018). Participatory evaluation of vegetables to enhance household nutrition in forest garden areas in Ethiopia. Acta Hortic. 1205, 117-124
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1205.13
Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere Reserve, Oromia, multi criteria decision making, nutrition-sensitive agriculture

Acta Horticulturae