Demystifying the Contribution of African Indigenous Vegetables to Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chains in Kenya

  •  Nancy Munyiva Laibuni    
  •  Turoop Losenge    
  •  Wolfgang Bokelmann    


African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) are widely consumed in Kenya as part of everyday meals. They provide the much-needed micro-nutrients which are critical for combating micronutrient deficiencies (“hidden hunger”). The study describes the socio-economic characterizes of households in rural and peri-urban areas in Kenya and appraises the contribution of AIVs to household food access. The results show that there are spatial variations in the consumption of AIVs. Households living in rural areas have a wider variety of vegetables and consume their own production for an estimated ten months in a year; at the same time, purchase vegetables for between 6-7 months. Their peri-urban counterparts have less variety, consume their own produce for 11 months in the year and purchase for 8-9 months. Household income plays a critical role in enabling participation in food markets, Households living in rural areas earn significantly less on average from their land, their annual salary and net profits compared to their peri-urban colleagues. At least 40 per cent of households living in rural areas compared to an estimated 20 per cent in peri-urban areas grade their vegetables. In contrast, 50 per cent of all households wash their vegetables before consumption. In conclusion, households’ living in rural areas are net buyers of food, indicating that interventions to ensure increased consumption of AIVs must be accompanied by broad-based livelihood improvements to ensure that benefits accrue. Also, there is a need to underscore the importance of extension services as knowledge brokers.

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