Experts Call for More Synergy to Support Optimum Utilization of AIVs

Prof. Abukutsa delivers her presentation

The demand for nutritious foods by consumers has grown exponentially over the years as the fight against lifestyle diseases rages on. The African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) have been proven to have high nutritional contents which are significant in addressing micro-nutrient deficiency.

According to the JKUAT Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof Mary Abukutsa, an advocate of AIVs, most individuals have poor eating habits which lead to prevalence of lifestyle diseases. The increase in the uptake of AIVs will boost immunity thus keeping lifestyle diseases like obesity at bay, she notes.

“Proper consumption of AIVs is important in ensuring the masses get the available nutrient-dense crops. This will be important in providing viable alternatives as well as improving their overall health,” Prof. Abukutsa said.

Prof. Abukutsa said this during the AIVs informative and interactive webinar held on Wednesday 27, October 27, 2021. The webinar, organized by the Directorate of Research and Innovation, provided students and staff a platform to get enlightened on the major strides made in the last ten in terms of promotion and utilization of AIVs.

Ms. Totton

In relation to advocacy and promotion, Prof. Abukutsa revealed that there have been major steps made in regard to AIVs further emphasizing the need to collaborate with media, government and other stakeholders to drum up support for the AIVs.  

With AIVs having a competitive advantage compared to other vegetables in terms of nutrient content, Prof. Abukutsa highlighted various constraints to the consumption of the vegetables ranging from poor policy, negative mindset and lack of appropriate recipe among others,  have frustrated the efforts to popularize alternative vegetables among the masses.

“I believe more is needed to be done before we can actually get to where we want to be in terms of making available, nutritious vegetable alternatives. However, I am delighted with the strides made this far,” she noted.

In her submission, the Director, Sustainable Organic Farming and Development Initiatives (SOFDI) Ms. Autumn Totton said, her company which is designed to give small-scale farmers an entire tool box of technologies, has been collaborating with Prof. Abukutsa in equipping farmers with skills in AIVs farming.

“These alternative vegetables are a huge resource to the households for the overall health due to their high nutritional content. This is a good opportunity for farmers to venture in other unique vegetable farming,” Ms. Totton stated.

Participants during the webinar

She also said, research carried out is essential in identifying what varieties are preferred on the ground and how to cultivate them in the farm, commending the various stakeholders involved in availing publications and important information to the farmers.

The University’s Director of Research and Innovation, Dr. John Kinyuru, was appreciative of the presenters especially Prof. Abukutsa in her efforts to champion AIVs, noting the event was significant in lobbying support as well as demystifying the confusion surrounding the uptake of Indigenous African Vegetables.

Comments are closed.