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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

This 5-minute presentation by James Simon in 2016, explains this project's focus on nutrition and African vegetables in Kenya and Zambia. View this on YouTube instead.

Improving nutrition with African indigenous vegetables

Project Title: Improving Income and Nutrition of Smallholder Farmers in Eastern Africa Using a Market Driven Approach to Enhance Value Chain Production of African Indigenous Vegetables

Target Country: Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania

Principal Investigators



Project Description

This project's research will support and strengthen African indigenous vegetable industries using a market-first, science-driven approach that connects stakeholders along the value chain. Vegetables will vary within countries based upon market demand and nutritional benefits, potentially including amaranth, moringa, African eggplant, Ethiopian mustard, African nightshade, and spiderplant.

Focus areas include greater access to quality seed and markets, improved production, postharvest handling, value addition and increased knowledge of vegetable health benefits. Value chain interventions will improve production and streamline movement of produce from farm to table while addressing food, nutrition, income insecurity, and gender inequality. Activities will characterize nutrient levels from improved germplasm, production, harvesting and postharvest handling of fresh and prepared indigenous vegetables focusing on vitamin and mineral composition, bioactive phytochemicals and anti-nutritive factors.

Surveys will track household consumption examining whether diets containing African indigenous vegetables improve nutrition and health of targeted malnourished populations. Strategies will target smallholder farmers, wholesalers, distributors, supermarkets, hotels, lodges and urban consumers/buyers of African indigenous vegetables. Our approach will bridge information gaps through cooperation with farmer groups, consumers, government, researchers, NGOs, produce distributors, supermarkets and the processing industry while introducing creative new technologies addressing issues of food, health, nutrition and income insecurity, gender inequality as the AIV value chain is strengthened and new product commercialized.

This project builds on previously completed projects:

Project updates

Related journal articles:

Presentations by James Simon of Rutgers: