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Journal of Food Security. 2021, 9(3), 115-125
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-9-3-4
Open AccessReview Article

Neglected and Underutilized Cultivated Crops with Respect to Indigenous African Leafy Vegetables for Food and Nutrition Security

Samuel Imathiu1,

1Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Food and Nutrition Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P.O. Box 62000 - 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Pub. Date: August 16, 2021

Cite this paper:
Samuel Imathiu. Neglected and Underutilized Cultivated Crops with Respect to Indigenous African Leafy Vegetables for Food and Nutrition Security. Journal of Food Security. 2021; 9(3):115-125. doi: 10.12691/jfs-9-3-4

Abstract

Many neglected and underutilized vegetable species such as indigenous African leafy vegetables have been incorporated in human diets since time immemorial, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and many Asian countries where they greatly contribute to food and nutrition security. Due to their well-documented superior nutritional quality and climate-smartness compared to their exotic counterparts, many of them are currently receiving a lot of attention among many stakeholders including governments, researchers, nutritionists, consumers and farmers. As a result of their climate adaptability and high micronutrient content, they can be used to curb ‘hidden hunger’ most prevalent in developing countries, contributing to the achievement of some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; no poverty, zero hunger, and good health and wellbeing. In this review, the general role of neglected and underutilized vegetable species, and indigenous African leafy vegetables in particular, is discussed with respect to their contribution to food and nutrition security. The benefits of embracing increased production and consumption of these vegetables in the context of developing countries, especially among the under-privileged rural poor is highlighted. In addition, challenges facing production and consumption of these vegetables are discussed and recommendations for research gaps suggested with the ultimate aim of ensuring that the commodity’s full potential is realized.

Keywords:
food losses food security indigenous leafy vegetables neglected and underutilized species nutrition traditional vegetables

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