AGRICULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION WITH INDIGENOUS VEGETABLES FOR CASH CROPPING AND NUTRITION: EXAMPLES FROM RIFT VALLEY AND CENTRAL PROVINCES IN KENYA
At many occasions, diversification of agriculture has been raised as a way to improve smallholder farmers livelihoods. However, information on how local communities would respond to a modification of their production system has rarely been adequately explored. This paper summarizes the response to promotion of traditional vegetable crops in the cultivation and diet systems of rural communities in central Kenya and the rift valley. We used group discussions and structured questionnaires to evaluate a post-intervention situation in which spider plant (Cleome gynandra), African nightshade (Solanum scabrum) and amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) were promoted for increased production and consumption. At the time of the survey, over 90% of the respondents cultivated at least one of the three vegetable species against 11% before the intervention. The uptake of knowledge on the importance of indigenous vegetables and production techniques has increased. So did the proportion of non-participant farmers between 2006 and 2009 for all three vegetable species. The sizes of vegetable plots were, in general, small (0.041±0.03 ha for nightshade, 0.045±0.03 for spider plant and 0.034±0.05 ha for amaranth). Area allocation for vegetable production varies per region and per gender. However, there were no differences between participants and non-participants for area allocation for any of the species. Amaranth was the most often consumed vegetable, with 87% respondents reportedly consuming it, while spider plant was the least consumed, with 29% of respondents. There were no differences between men and women for the frequency of consumption of all three species. The positive response of farmers to diversification offers a strong background upon which further improvement of African agricultural system can be built.
Ndenga, E.A., Achigan-Dako, E.G., Mbugua, G., Maye, D. and Ojanji, W. (2013). AGRICULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION WITH INDIGENOUS VEGETABLES FOR CASH CROPPING AND NUTRITION: EXAMPLES FROM RIFT VALLEY AND CENTRAL PROVINCES IN KENYA. Acta Hortic. 979, 549-558
amaranth, African nightshade, consumption, crop diversification, income generation, spider plant