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Project ends, but the good work continues

Participants in the five-year Hort4Nutrition Project highlighted the nutritional benefits of Africa’s traditional vegetables and engaged smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs in building markets for these valuable but underused crops.     

Improving Nutrition and Income of Smallholder Farmers in Eastern Africa using a Market Driven Approach to Enhance Value Chain Production of African Indigenous Vegetables (Horti4Nutrition) was conducted from 1 June 2015 to 31 July 2019 in Tanzania by the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), in Kenya by the Kenyan Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH), in Zambia by Hantambo Women’s Organization in collaboration with AgriSmart Zambia and the University of Zambia (UoZ), and in the USA by Rutgers University. USAID and the Horticulture Innovation Lab sponsored the project.

Project participants gathered on 18-20 July 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya to formally close the project, share research and lessons learned, and reflect on progress in variety development and seed systems, assessing germplasm for nutrient content, pest management, market assessment and human resource capacity development.

Prof. James Simon from Rutgers University welcomed participants, and by Dr. Lusike Wasilwa from KALRO gave the opening address on “Underutilized Fruits for Improved Nutrition and Health.” The first day of the workshop covered the historical development of research and development on underutilized traditional African vegetables and fruits; biodiversity; current focus, opportunities and challenges; nutrition; marketing; farmers’ bargaining power in traditional vegetables; pest and crop management; and value addition. Forty-five (45) posters were displayed by participants from Rutgers, WorldVeg, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), KALRO, Kenyatta University and University of Nairobi.

The second day was devoted to working sessions focusing on best management practices, marketing and value chains, dietary diversity, consumption, and nutrition composition and phytochemistry of traditional African vegetables. Participants discussed the preparation of cookbooks and training materials. Among the project’s achievements, two improved varieties each of amaranth, African nightshade and spider plant were released in Kenya.

On the final day, participants focused on planning technical reports and research papers for publication.

Although this particular project has ended, the work will continue: Prof. Simon, WorldVeg, and USAID are organizing a conference to build on the momentum of Horti4Nutrition. Plan to attendPower on Your Plate: An All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables to Increase Health, Nutrition and Wealth” 25-28 May 2020 in Arusha, Tanzania and discover how traditional vegetables are changing Africa’s food landscape. Learn more at:

Story: Fekadu Dinssa

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POWER ON YOUR PLATE: An All-Africa Summit on Diversifying Food Systems with African Traditional Vegetables to Increase Health, Nutrition and Wealth

25-28 May 2020
Arusha, Tanzania