Knowledge for Development


Can ACP smallholders reap the fruit and share in rewards through enhanced horticultural productivity? Will increased investments in horticultural research and development contribute to poverty alleviation? What is the role for advanced technologies? These and other questions are explored in this folder on vegetable horticulture for food and wealth.

Researching African Indigenous Fruits and Vegetables – Why?

by Mary Oyiela Abukutsa-Onyango, Department of Horticulture, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Traditionally, Africans made use of edible fruits and leaves of plant species growing wild as weeds. These edible plants were well-known to the rural communities and were often collected from the wild or planted in home gardens as intercrops with staples. For some indigenous fruits and vegetables, wild collection is still practiced, especially in southern Africa and parts of eastern and western Africa. Recent surveys reveal that indigenous fruits and vegetables were consumed by the rural populations for nutrition and food security. The hidden potential of indigenous fruits and vegetables needs to be exploited to play a pivotal role in solving malnutrition, food insecurity and poverty challenges facing Africa. 28/09/2011

Horticulture for food

by Lusike A. Wasilwa, Ph.D. Assistant Director Horticulture and Industrial Crops, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Agricultural productivity in most sub-Saharan countries is 2-3 times lower than the world average and the production gap between developing and developed countries is widening. This situation is reflected in the production of most horticultural commodities in which per capita productivity has declined. Today’s farmers produce less per hectare than their grandparents. When an increase in production is reported, a notable increase in land under production is the cause and not increased productivity per unit area. Major factors contributing to this decline are poor soils, decreasing land resources, minimal access to irrigation (only 4% of the land used for agricultural production is under irrigation) and drought which affects 33% of crops produced for food slightly and another 25% severely. What mix of knowledge and technologies is required to expand production and increase productivity in Africa that can contribute to improving food, nutrition and income security? How can economies of scale be created? 05/11/2008

Horticulture for Wealth

by Olaf van Kooten, Horticultural Supply Chains group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Horticulture worldwide has been dominated by a product oriented approach, i.e. producers do their best to create attractive and maybe delicious products and then try to sell them. In a local context, this approach has worked well for the last 20 millennia; however, in the present day situation, where most retail corporations source their products globally it will not suffice. Due to the evolution of the world wide food web, supply now exceeds the demand in most cases. In order to compete in this market, producers and suppliers must be able to differentiate products from average suppliers. The distinctions developed must be perceived as valuable by the customers. Therefore it all starts with knowing what customers expect and appreciate both now and in the future. 05/11/2008