5-minute lesson: Improving nutrition and incomes with African indigenous vegetables


This short presentation details the findings from a pilot survey, nutrition and production interventions, market analysis, participatory research on best management practices, and a nutrient composition evaluation all about the potential for African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) in Kenya and Zambia. Presented by Jim Simon of Rutgers University, who is the primary investigator of this project with funding from the Horticulture Innovation Lab.

Lesson 1: Developing & identifying the most effective intervention methods toward improved access, affordability, availability, and adoption of AIVs must be based on solid survey consumer data
Lesson 2: 98.8% producers want access to better management practices, technology and pest management
Lesson 3: Growers report AIV requires same level of management and skills as vegetables and report difficulties (listed in PDF slide 6)
Lesson 4: Parents, grandparents and even school teachers far more excited about AIVs when they understand their nutritional content! Source of pride, source of tradition, easy to collect yet still perceived to be wild harvested not cultivated and “undervalued”.
Lesson 5: 90.9% producers [want] better AIV seed quality.
Lesson 6: 75% of producers want training for production during dry seasons & drought.
Lesson 7: Selection and breeding for micronutrients possible.
Lesson 8: Many of the AIVs are nutrient rich and can be submitted to USDA for inclusion.
Lesson 9: Linking to Youth by providing training in AIV production, can create entry point to new generation, urban settings and reach more families for accessing fresh healthy produce and possible new income generation opportunities


This presentation was given at the 2017 Horticulture Innovation Lab annual meeting in Antigua, Guatemala.

Value Chain



Kenya Zambia