Preventing micronutrient deficiencies using African indigenous vegetables in Kenya and Zambia


This article was written by Daniel J. Hoffman, Emily Merchant, David R. Byrnes, and James E. Simon and was published December 2018 in Sight and Life Magazine.

Article key messages:

  • Many countries are now facing the “double burden of malnutrition,” in which a high prevalence of undernutrition coexists with an increasing prevalence of obesity.
  • The double burden of malnutrition is often associated with changing dietary patterns, and interventions that once focused on providing calories must now focus on ensuring that individuals and households consume adequate micronutrients.
  • African indigenous vegetables (AIVs), rich in such micronutrients and identified as limited in many populations, can meet nutritional gaps without promoting excess weight gain.
  • AIVs are recognized by many communities that are at risk of undernutrition, but lack of access, availability, or cost considerations have prevented them from being consumed on a regular basis.
  • While regionally consumed, AIVs are often not considered as cash crops, which has resulted in a lack of development for production and limited household consumption. Improved germplasm and production and post-harvest handling techniques, as well as culinary development and nutrition education, can improve access, availability, adoption, affordability and consumption.

Hoffman, D.J., E. Merchant, D.R. Byrnes, and J.E. Simon. 2018. Preventing micronutrient deficiencies using African indigenous vegetables in Kenya and Zambia. Sight and Life Magazine. 32(2):177-181.

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Value Chain



Kenya Zambia