CONSUMPTION OF TRADITIONAL AND EXOTIC VEGETABLES AND THEIR PERCEIVED AND REAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO NUTRITIONAL HEALTH IN TANZANIA
Within the project Promotion of Neglected Indigenous Vegetables for Nutritional Health in Eastern and Southern Africa (ProNIVA), the actual consumption of traditional and exotic vegetables by women in twelve rural and six peri-urban villages of three districts in Tanzania was studied. At the end of the short dry season in 2007, a total of 176 women were interviewed on their eating habits using a seven-day-recall. Additionally, they were checked for their nutritional health status (i.e., vitamin A deficiency measured as low retinol-binding protein). The traditional vegetables mainly consumed were dark green leaves, which are good sources of vitamin A. In all districts, traditional vegetables were eaten in higher numbers and greater diversity than exotic vegetables. Women in the rural, semi-arid district Kongwa consumed a greater variety of traditional vegetables than those from the peri-urban, semi-arid Singida district, while the lowest diversity of traditional vegetable intake during one week was found in the rural, humid Muheza District. Contrary to this, in focus group meetings during the long dry season in 2003, it was found that vegetable diversity reported by participants was lowest in Singida, intermediate in Kongwa, and highest in Muheza District. While the main factors influencing traditional vegetable diversity appeared to be village distances to urban centers, the new results show that further causes, such as education, culture, economic status, and individual preferences impact on the consumption of vegetable diversity. When asked to name foods high in vitamin A and iron, participating women valued traditional vegetables more than exotic vegetables. This reflects the reality that traditional vegetables contain higher values of vitamin A and iron than exotic ones. Therefore, it is concluded that, while traditional vegetables are neglected in research and development, the local population still utilises these crops so that they will not perish but have the capability to nourish future generations.
Keding, G.B., Krawinkel, M.B., Maass, B.L., Virchow, D. and Msuya, J.M. (2009). CONSUMPTION OF TRADITIONAL AND EXOTIC VEGETABLES AND THEIR PERCEIVED AND REAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO NUTRITIONAL HEALTH IN TANZANIA . Acta Hortic. 806, 209-217
nutritional knowledge, Tanzania, traditional vegetables, vegetable consumption, vitamin A deficiency