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Kenya plans to promote African indigenous vegetables in order to combat climate change, a research regulator said on Monday.

Lusike Wasilwa, director of crop systems at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), told Xinhua in Nairobi that urbanization has led to a shift in diet from traditional vegetables to modern vegetables.

“We are promoting traditional vegetables because they tend to be more drought resistant and need fewer pesticides as compared to conventional vegetables,” Wasilwa said.

According to KALRO, the most common indigenous vegetables include the night shade, amaranth, vine spinach and jute mallow.

In order to encourage uptake of the African indigenous vegetables, the research body has developed improved seed varieties to ensure that indigenous vegetables can match the appeal of the conventional vegetables.

Wasilwa noted that indigenous vegetables are ideal because they are harvested throughout the year unlike the modern vegetables which tend to be seasonal.

She said that traditional vegetables have been portrayed as food for the low income segment of society.

“There is need for sensitization of consumers to ensure the public is aware of the nutritional benefits of indigenous vegetables,” she added.

Wasilwa said that the country aims to boost food security and nutrition by mainstreaming the traditional vegetables back into the diet of Kenyans.

She noted that reliance on a few staple crops such as maize will affect the country’s ability to achieve food security. Enditem


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