Traditional vegetables capture attention in Cotonou
Visitors to the WorldVeg office in Benin find vegetable crops thriving in the Demonstration Garden
Dr. Anita Linnemann, from Wageningen University’s Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences / Food Quality and Design, visited the WorldVeg West and Central Africa – Coastal & Humid Regions office in Cotonou, Benin on 6 February 2018. She was accompanied by Dr. Robert Nout, former Wageningen University Professor, and Prof. Polycarpe Kayode and Dr. Yann Madode, both from the Nutrition Department, Agronomy Faculty, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Benin.
The visitors were briefed about WorldVeg activities in Africa and then toured the Demonstration Garden, where they spent a full hour marveling at the diversity of vegetables. “I’m very happy to see all this,” said Dr. Linnemann. “It’s wonderful work, after only one year in Benin!”
Prof. Kayode was interested in two species of Malabar spinach (Basella rubra and Basella alba) and plans to check the components that make the stems of B. rubra red. He found green roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) intriguing; some people eat the petals in sauce like meat (particularly in north Benin). He plans to have MSc students research the two crops for nutrient content, and will begin promoting consumption of these vegetables in Benin and neighboring countries.
At the end of the visit, Prof. Madode observed that activities of two WorldVeg flagships (Safe and Sustainable Value Chains and Healthy Diets) intersect with the work of the university’s Nutrition Department. “I look forward to many fruitful collaborations in the future,” he said.
Story and photos: Judith Honfoga