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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

Project Video: Why indigenous African leafy vegetables are important and what our researchers are doing with them.


Browse photos or see more in our African leafy vegetables album on Flickr.

Indigenous African Leafy Vegetables (ALV) for Enhancing Livelihood Security of Smallholder Farmers in Kenya

Target Countries: Kenya

Principal Investigators: Stephen C. Weller and Maria I. Marshall, Purdue University


Project Description

This project enhances the potential for production, utilization and marketing of African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) in Eastern Africa. Important species consumed include spider plant (Cleome gynandra), African nightshades (Solanum scabrum/S. villosum/S. americanum/S. tarderomotum) and amaranths (Amaranthus blitum/A. dubius/A. hybrdus /A. spinosus). Indigenous ALVs contain higher levels of nutrients than commonly grown exotic species like Swiss chard, kale and cabbage. Amaranth leaves are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Nightshade and spider plant are rich sources of vitamins and minerals and have medicinal properties. These vegetables are popular in cultural diets and have potential for increased production and use in areas where traditionally grown.

Project goals are to establish a base of information and experience for greater production and use of indigenous vegetables that in the long-term will provide a source of food that improves nutrition, health and economic security for Africans, especially those afflicted with HIV/AIDs and women farmers. Activities include imparting knowledge on ALV germplasm, establishing/improving local seed banks, providing quality seeds for production, transfer of improved production techniques to stakeholders, organization of self-help groups and market analysis. Participatory approaches are critical in achieving project goals and targeting disadvantaged groups.

Project Deliverables (all PDF)