Inaugural Lecture by Prof. Abukutsa Mary Oyiela Onyango

The Vice Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology invites staff, students and the general public to an inaugural lecture, to be delivered by Prof. Abukutsa Mary Oyiela Onyango of the JKUAT Department of Horticulture.

The details are as follows:

Topic: AFRICAN INDIGENOUS VEGETABLES IN KENYA: Strategic Repositioning in the Horticultural Sector

Date: Friday, 30 April 2010

Venue: Assembly Hall, Main Campus – Juja

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Speaker: Prof. Abukutsa Mary Oyiela Onyango

Prof. Abukutsa has a BSc.  MSc. (University of Nairobi), Ph.D (Horticulture) – London.


The year, 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations to celebrate diversity of plants and animals. Horticultural biodiversity such as African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) that used to form an integral part of Kenyan diets should be part of this celebration. However, with the introduction of exotic temperate crops like cabbage, indigenous greens lost popularity in Kenya and were regarded as ‘weeds’ and `poor man’s food. With 60% of the Kenyan population living below the poverty line, resulting in malnutrition and poor health, there is need for a paradigm shift in the production patterns to harness the nutrition and economic potential of indigenous vegetables. In recent years, Kenyans have seen an increase in diet related ailments such as heart disease, diabetes and anaemia. Indigenous vegetables are micro nutrient dense and could prove a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty and malnutrition since they are suited to local conditions. However, a number of factors have been conspiring against sustainable production and use of these greens including  negative perception, poor quality seed, lack of technical packages, poor marketing and high perishability affecting their strategic repositioning in the Horticultural sector. To raise the status of indigenous vegetables, this professorial inaugural lecture will take you through a journey of pioneering research initiated at JKUAT and Maseno Universities in the early 1990s by Prof Abukutsa. It is therefore, time to strategically reposition AIVs in the horticultural sector and restore their lost glory.

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