The accessibility, utilisation and role of indigenous traditional vegetables in household food security in rural Hwange District.

Canisius Mpala, M Dlamini, Peling Sibanda

Abstract


Traditional  indigenous  vegetables  have  been  consumed  by  many  rural  communities  for  centuries  and  have  a
potential to contribute to household food security by providing direct access to readily accessible nutritious food
and household income generation, (Mnzava 1999). The availability of fresh vegetables is however seasonal but
communities in Hwange have made it an all year round activity by having winter gardens in the alluvial deposits
in river beds.
A survey was conducted in 2012 in Nekatambe ward of Hwange in Matabeleland North province of Zimbabwe
to assess the  accessibility, importance, availability and role  of  the indigenous traditional vegetables in income
generation, food security and livelihoods of households.
Data  was  collected  through  focus  group  discussions,  field  observations  and  a  questionnaire  survey  on  forty
households.  Results  showed  that  traditional  vegetables  were  abundant  all  year  round  for  communities  living
along the major district rivers. Amaranthus (pigweed), Corchorus spp (idelele), Cleome gynandra (Ishungwa/Ulude),
Vigna unguiculata (cowpea), Legenaria siceraria (gourds) and pumpkin leaves (Curcubita spp) were the most popular
vegetables in summer whereas in winter, the popular vegetables were Curcubita spp (pumpkin), Legenaria siceraria
(gourds), Vigna unguiculata and Citrullus lanatus (melons). The vegetables are for household use and income
generation.  There  was  a  general  positive  attitude  towards  indigenous  traditional  vegetables.  The  supply  of
vegetables was reported to be on the increase possibly due attitude changes and training.
Information on agronomy, nutritive value and methods of preparation that minimise nutrient leaching is scarce
among the communities. It was recommended that, as a food-based initiative toward alleviation of micro-nutrient
deficiencies and poverty, stakeholders should start promoting and strengthening current efforts that encourage the
consumption of traditional vegetables.

Keywords


Indigenous traditional vegetables; Accessibility; Livelihoods

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