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Growing indigenous vegetables key in ending food crisis

Malnutrition is common in rural Kenya, especially among women of childbearing age and children of under five years of age.

It is made worse by micronutrient deficiency, a major cause of weakened immunity to diseases, leading to increased mortality among vulnerable groups.

African leafy vegetables were until the late 1970s the main source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron, protein, minerals and fibre in rural areas.

They require minimum external input and tend to grow and produce in areas where cultivation of exotic vegetables is difficult.

However, the production and consumption of these indigenous vegetables have been on the decline.

CONSUMED

They tend to be consumed during hard times. In addition, they are considered low status food.

The truth of the matter is that the production, sale and consumption of these vegetables have potential social, economic and health benefits.

The vegetables contribute to food security, are a source of livelihood and a good source of essential nutrients.

County governments should promote their production and consumption. They should help in the integration of the vegetables into the local farming systems.

The development of simple processing technologies that will add value and increase the shelf life of the vegetables should be given priority.

MWARI MAINA, Nyeri.

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