Diversifying diets: using indigenous vegetables to improve profitability, nutrition and health in Africa

Ojiewo, C O and Tenkouano, A and Hughes, J A and Keatinge, J D H (2013) Diversifying diets: using indigenous vegetables to improve profitability, nutrition and health in Africa. In: Diversifying Food and Diets Using Agricultural Biodiversity to Improve Nutrition and Health. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 291-302. ISBN 978-0-203-12726-1

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The picture of malnutrition in Africa is quite depressing: 20–25 per cent of the population’s nutrient intake falls below minimum dietary requirements, 25–30 per cent of children under five years of age are underweight, 33–45 per cent suffer from vitamin A deficiency (VAD), while a further 30–50 per cent are stunted. There is more than 25 per cent goitre prevalence among 6–11 year olds, 13–20 per cent have low birth weights, and infant mortality rates stand at an unacceptable 5.5–13.5 per cent (Kean et al., 1999). Even more alarming is an 18 per cent rise in the number of malnourished children projected by 2020 (IFPRI, 2001). Imbalanced diets lead to nutrient deficiencies. Efforts to combat micronutrient deficiencies through biofortification of staple crops or by diet supplementation with vitamins or minerals are relatively expensive and can target only a few nutritional factors. Indigenous vegetables are rich in provitamin A and vitamin C, several mineral micronutrients, other micronutrients and nutraceuticals (Yang and Keding, 2009). Diversifying diets with indigenous vegetables is a sustainable way to supply a range of nutrients to the body and combat malnutrition and associated health problems, particularly for poor households. The relative increased costs of crop diversification would be one-off and minor in relation to the ongoing costs of supplementation through drug treatment or through artificial food additives.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Others > Food and Nutrition
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2014 09:30
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 08:51
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/7392
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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