Monday, 11 September 2017

ACIAR plans to extend successful African leafy vegetables project

Participants in ACIAR's workshop on Africa Leafy Vegetables in Kisumu, Kenya.
ACIAR plans to spread a successful new food procurement and school feeding model trialled in Kenya to other regions of Africa.

The trial project (HORT/2014/100) helped Kenyan smallholder farmers sell nutrient-rich but underused African leafy vegetables to schools.  Thanks to the project, schoolchildren are healthier and better educated, and smallholder farmers – many of them women – are earning more money and know how to market their produce.

ACIAR has earmarked $2.5 million over 3 or 4 years for rolling out the model to other parts of Kenya and to neighbouring Tanzania, with Uganda possibly to follow.

“This is a really exciting research project,” said ACIAR’s Annie Sanderson, who attended a three-day workshop in Kisumu, western Kenya, that discussed how to spread the success to other countries (GP/2017/007).

“These alternative vegetable crops present an opportunity to enrich diets, and diversify and improve smallholder livelihoods.”

A crop of traditional leafy vegetables at the Kisumu agricultural college

The project team from HORT/2014/100 presented their findings, challenges and learnings to stakeholders from other areas of Kenya and from Tanzania, including county and national level ministries, universities, schools, NGOs and CG centres.

The workshop discussed the outcomes of the pilot, and how other stakeholders could expand the trial to other areas and other crops.  The workshop will propose a larger project to ACIAR’s Global Program branch, suggesting how the pilot could be scaled up to other regions.

It will be fascinating and rewarding to see where this project could end up in a few year's time.

By Nick Fuller

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