Our goal: Help smallholder farmers profitably participate in high value vegetable supply chains, and increase consumption of a diversity of vegetables for the nutrition and health of poor consumers
Imbalanced diets lead to the death of millions of people each year, particularly in developing countries where micronutrient malnutrition is chronic and debilitating. Vegetables and fruit are important sources of micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and other phytochemicals that are essential to good health, but consumption in most countries is well below WHO minimum recommendations of 400 grams per person per day.
Smallholder farming families with limited space can generate more income from growing vegetables than staples such as rice or maize. Labor-intensive vegetable production also provides more rural employment opportunities. Vegetable supply chains often involve mainly women. However, because most vegetables are highly perishable, up to half of the yield can be lost before consumption.
The Center works to improve vegetable supply chains in developing countries. These linkages are often poorly understood, particularly for indigenous vegetables, which can be a major source of nutrition and income for the poorest. We provide training in postharvest management and develop appropriate technologies to reduce postharvest losses. Our analytical work has clarified the important nutritional and health benefits of indigenous vegetables. We also breed nutritionally enhanced vegetables, improve traditional recipes for greater nutritional benefits, and distribute home garden seed packs for improved family nutrition and disaster relief.