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Nutritional value and water use of African leafy vegetables for improved livelihoods
Expanded Title:African leafy vegetables are commonly perceived to be heat and drought tolerant, use less water than conventional crops and provide a host of health benefits especially nutritional benefits. If these attributes are true, these crops could contribute greatly to the diet of especially poor, food insecure households, many of whom are living in drought stricken areas of the country. The research consisted of four main thrusts divided into specific research objectives. The review of nutritional status and strategies showed that under- and over-nutrition co-exist in the same communities and often same household. With respect to water requirements, there were distinct differences in water requirements between the different plants which varied from 340 mm to 463 mm. The ALVs studied were found to be sensitive to water stress and the biomass production of the crops was influenced by the irrigation treatments. This is a significant finding as it indicates that the crops can only be produced with an adequate amount of water particularly if the yield is intended for human consumption. The final section on human nutritional issues showed that these plants can indeed contribute substantially to intake of vitamin A and iron in both young children and women, two of the most vulnerable groups with respect to malnutrition. Where some plants provided more than 50% of the RDA for vitamin A, all ALVs studied were good sources of vitamin A. The plants also provide a varying amount of other important nutrients which again supports the use of a variety to address the nutritional health of vulnerable people. This extensive study contributed greatly to the understanding of the use, cultivation and nutritional contribution of these crops to human health and well-being. It was clear that cultivation poses some challenges, but none more than existing exotic species. The results therefore provide support for cultivation and increased consumption of these food crops.
Date Published:01/09/2012
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Commercial irrigation, Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:TT 535/12
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0323-9
ISBN Set No:978-1-4312-0325-3
Authors:Oelofse A; Van Averbeke W
Project No:K5/1579
Organizations:University of Pretoria; Tshwane University of Technology
Document Size:9 939 KB
Related Documents:Production guidelines for African leafy vegetables
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