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Nutritional water productivity of traditional vegetable crops
Expanded Title:Sub-Saharan African (sSA) countries are facing three interrelated challenges, namely water scarcity, population growth, and food and nutritional insecurity of essential micronutrients (Fe and Zn) and vitamin A. Agricultural production needs to increase and has to be achieved against a backdrop of issues such as climate change (extreme weather, flooding, and droughts), soil fertility depletion, and land degradation. Micronutrient (Fe and Zn) and vitamin A deficiencies affect resource poor households (RPHs) who are located in less favourable areas characterized by poor soil fertility, low yield, as well as lack of capital and agricultural inputs (specifically water and fertilizer). Therefore, Agriculture needs to re-think agro-biodiversity solutions when planning a food based approach in curbing micronutrient deficiency. Traditional vegetable crops (TVCs) are highly nutritious in terms of Fe, Zn, and β-carotene and are drought tolerant (can withstand adverse environmental conditions), when compared to exotic vegetables. However, this assumption has been based on the fact that some TVCs grow naturally in marginal environments that are characterized by poor soil fertility, while depending solely on sporadic rainfall. In 2012, the Water Research Commission of South Africa published a report entitled Nutritional value and water use of African leafy vegetables for improved livelihoods (WRC Report No. TT 535/12). Key findings of the project were that these TVCs have the potential of providing more than 50% of the recommended daily allowance for Fe, Zn, and vitamin A. However, these findings were based on plant samples taken from locations where soil fertility and actual evapotranspiration (Eta), or crop water use, were unknown. As such, further research was needed to better understand the link between management practices, water, soil nutrients, biomass, and nutritional content of TVCs. Beta vulgaris (Swiss chard) was used as a reference crop because it is a leafy vegetable, highly nutritious (contains Fe, Zn and β-carotene), commercialized in South Africa and mostly utilized by RPHs who eat it as a relish with maize porridge. Project aim and objectives The main aim of the project was to understand the effects of water and soil nutrient (N, P, and K) interactions on nutrient content (Fe and Zn) and β-carotene of selected TVCs (Amaranthus cruentus (Amaranth), Cleome gynandra (Spider flower), and Ipomoea batatas var. Bophelo (orange fleshed sweet potato, OFSP), and to use modelling techniques to out scale the application of project results
Date Published:01/10/2016
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation, Agricultural Water - Rainwater harvesting
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2171/1/16
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0840-1
Authors:Nyathi MK; Annandale JG; Beletse YG; Beukes DJ; Du Plooy CP ; Pretorius B; van Halsema GE
Project No:K5/2171
Originator:WRC
Organizations:ARC; University of Pretoria; Australia Agricultural Research Council ; Wageningen University; Commonwealth for Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Document Size:1 772 KB
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