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County recruiting 2500 farmers to grow traditional vegetables

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The Vihiga County government is recruiting 2,500 farmers to grow traditional vegetables such as black night shade (managu), spider plant (saga), amaranth, cowpeas and jute mallow (mutere).

In this, farmers will be supplied with seeds and cuttings for the vegetables in a Sh30m project aimed at helping small scale farmers utilize small pieces land by turning the rural county into a commercial hub for traditional vegetables.

“We have identified Carrefour supermarket at the buyer of the produce from farmers with collection centers set to be based in Chavakali, Emuhaya, Majengo, and Cheptulu,” said Geofrey Vukaya, Vihiga County’s executibe in charge of trade.

A one acre piece of land in the project can earn farmers up to Sh102,400 per season if they produce 15 sacks of the traditional vegetables.

Currently, farmers in the region grow maize, beans, millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes, cassava and French beans with more than 90 per cent of the total land mass under crop cultivation.  Maize and beans are the leading food crops with 90,000 and 20,000 bags produced yearly on average.

According to a research published by the International Food and Agribusiness Management in 2017, traditional vegetables hold potential to address food security and nutrition in Africa.

The 2016 Global Hunger Index shows that the level of hunger in developing countries has fallen by 29 per cent since 2000. Despite this progress, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that the level of hunger in the world is still ‘serious,’ with estimated 805m people continuing to go hungry.

 Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world, with 47.5 per cent of the population living on $1.25 a day. Chronic hunger has been worsened by malnutrition and hidden hunger caused by a deficiency of micronutrients, with an estimated two billion people around the world suffering from various forms of malnutrition and hidden hunger.

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Spider plant. Farmbiz Africa

At least 2.4m Kenyans for instance face starvation every year due to inadequate availability of nutritious food.

African traditional vegetables are important sources of micronutrients, vitamins, fibre, calcium, iron and proteins and are used to supplement staple based diets.

Despite the multiple benefits of AIVs, the International Food and Agribusiness Management reports that their production and consumption has been limited by negative perceptions and lack of awareness of their nutritional benefit.

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