Indigenous Vegetable Production and the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women in Africa: Reality, Prospects, and Challenges in Rwanda
In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, indigenous vegetables have added important nutritional value to the diets of locals for hundreds of years. Women, who are traditionally in charge of family nutrition, have been more involved in cultivating or collecting indigenous vegetables. Studies on indigenous vegetables have pointed to the vegetables' higher levels of micronutrients. These nutrients are greater than their modern or exotic counterparts, which are now more regularly consumed across the region. However, in more recent times, there has been a noticeable reduction in the cultivation and consumption of indigenous vegetables across sub-Saharan Africa. In some communities, cultivation and consumption of indigenous vegetables have been relegated to the rural areas and have become the concern of older, rural women. This study explores the role of rural women in the production of indigenous vegetables in Rwanda, especially in view of the preponderance and consumer preference for modern vegetables in the country's recent history. Further, the study probes into the nutritional and economic importance of indigenous vegetables in Rwanda, with emphasis on how rural women stand to expand their earning power through scaling up their production capacity.
Abukutsa, M. O. 2010. African Indigenous Vegetables in Kenya: Strategic Repositioning in the Horticultural Sector. Nairobi: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology(JKUAT).
Afari-Sefa, V., A. Tenkouano, C. O. Ajiewo, J. D. H. Keatinge, and J. d'A. Hughes. 2011. "Vegetable Breeding in Africa: Constraints, Complexity and Contributions Towards Achieving Food and Nutritional Security." Food Security 4(1): 115-127. Netherlands: Springer.
Alsop, Ruth, and Nina Heinsohn. 2005. Measuring Empowerment in Practice: Structuring Analysis and Framing Indicators. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3510. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
Anderson, Robynne. 2012. "Empowering Rural Women and Improving Livelihoods." World Farmers Organization. Accessed June 10, 2017. http://www.wfo-oma.org/documents/empowering-rural-women-and-improving-livelihoods.html.
Aphane, J., M. Chadha, and M.O. Oluoch. 2002. Increasing the Consumption of Micronutrient-rich Foods through Production and Promotion of Indigenous Foods. FAO-AVRDC International Workshop Proceedings. Arusha, Tanzania: AVRDC-Regional Center for Africa; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); The World Vegetable Center (AVDRC).
Ayanwale, Ayanwale B., and Christianah A. Amusan. 2014. "Livelihood Strategies of Female Indigenous Vegetable Farmers' in Osun State, Nigeria."Journal of Agriculture Science 6(10): 96-107.
Chweya, J.A., and L. Guarino. "Genetic Enhancements of Indigenous Vegetables in Kenya." International Workshop, Genetic Resources of Traditional Vegetables in Africa: Conversation and Use. Published in "Promoting the Conservation and Use of Underutilized and Neglected Crops." Rome: International Plant Genetics Resources Institute, 1997. 86-95.
Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF). 2015. "Rwanda Country Profile 2015/2016." Commonwealth Local Government Handbook 2015/16. London: CLGF.
Ebert, A. W. 2014. "Potential of Underutilized Vegetables and Legume Crops to Contribute to Food and Nutritional Security, Income and More Sustainable Production Systems." Sustainability 6(1): 319-335.
Flyman, M. V. and A. J. Afolayan. 2006. "The Suitability of Wild Vegetables for Alleviating Human Dietary Deficiencies." South African Journal of Botany 72(4): 492-497.
Food and Agriculture Oganization of the United Nations (FAO). 2010. The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises. Rome: FAO.
Food and Agriculture Oganization of the United Nations (FAO), SOFA Team, Cheryl Doss. 2011a. The Role of Women in Agriculture. ESA Working Paper 11-02. Rome: FAO.
Food and Agriculture Oganization of the United Nations (FAO). 2011b. The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011. Rome: FAO.
Gahakwa, Daphrose. 2011. Minagri Report on the Consumption of Indigenous Vegetables. Kigali, Rwanda.
Hussein, K. and J. Nelson. 1998. Sustainable Livelihoods and Livelihood Diversification. IDS Working Paper 69. Brighton: IDS.
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 2017. Investing in Rural People in Rwanda. Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Jacobs, P. T., and M. Baiphethi. 2009. "The Contribution of Subsistence Farming to Food Security in South Africa." Agrekon 48(4). DOI: 10.1080/03031853.2009.9523836.
Kishor, S., and L. Subaiya. 2008. "Understanding Women's Empowerment: A Comparative Analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Data." DHS Comparative Reports No. 20. Calverton, MD: Macro International; United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Kokwaro, J. 2009. Medicinal Plants of East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: University of Nairobi Press.
Lekgoa, M., M. Nnepi, F. Phuti, T. Seru, and F. Mthombeni. 2016. "Awareness and Utilization of Indigenous Fruits and Vegetables in Selected Southern Africa Countries." Journal of Nutritional Ecology and Food Research (3)2: 133-138.
Madisa, M., and M. Tshamekang. 2016. Conservation and Utilizations of Indigenous Vegetables in Botswana. Accessed July 25, 2016. Biodiversity International Organization. http://www.bioversityinternational.org/fileadmin/bioversity/publications/Web_version/500/ch23.htm.
Maundu, P. M. 1997. "The Status of Traditional Vegetable Utilization in Kenya." The IPGRI International Workshop on Genetic Resources of Traditional Vegetables in Africa 66-71. Rome: Institute of Plant Genetic and Crop Plant.
MDGF. 2018. Millennium Development Goals. http://www.mdgfund.org/node/922. June 27, 2018.
Mnzava, N.M., J. A. Dearing, L. Guarino, J. A. Chweya, and H. Koeijer (ed.). 1999. "Bibliography of the Genetic Resources of Traditional African Vegetables." Neglected Leafy Green Vegetables in Africa Vol. 2. Rome, Italy. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute.
Muhanji, G., R. Roothaert, C. Webo, and S. Mwangi. 2011. "African Indigenous Vegetable Enterprises and Market Access for Small-scale Farmers in East Africa." International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability: 194-202.
Ndlovu, J. and A.J. Afolayan. 2008 "Nutritional Analysis of the South African Wild Vegetable (Corchorus olitorius L.)." Asian Journal of Plant Science 7: 615-618.
Nesamvuni, C., N. P Steyn, and M. J. Potgieter. 2001. "Nutritional Value of Wild, Leafy Vegetables Consumed by the VhaVhenda." South African Journal of Science 97: 51–54.
Ngugi, I. K., R. Gitau, and J. K. Nyoro. 2007. Kenya Access to High Value Markets by Small Holder Farmers of African Indigenous Vegetables. London: Sustainable Market Group.
Odhav, B., S.Beekrum, U. Akula, and H. Baijnath. 2007. "Preliminary Assessment of Nutritional Value of Traditional Leafy Vegetables in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa." Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 20: 430–435.
Onim, M., and P. Mwaniki. 2008. Cataloguing and Evaluation of Available Community/Farmers-based Seed Enterprises on African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVS) Four ECA Countries. Entebe: ASARECA.
Samman, E., and M. Santos. 2009. Agency and Empowerment: A Review of Concepts, Indicators and Empirical Evidence. Oxford: Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
Taremwa, N. K., D. Mukakamali, and A. Butera. 2016. "Enhancing the Livelihood of Rural Women Through Indigenous Vegetable Production Around Volcanic National Park in Rwanda." The Social Science Journal (46)2: 176-184.
United Nations (UN). 2012. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012. New York: UN.
UN Women. 2016. Progress of the World's Women 2015 - 2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights.UN Women.
UN Women. 2018. Rural Women and the Millennium Development Goals. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/ruralwomen/documents/En-Rural-Women MDGs-web.pdf. Accessed June 27, 2018.
Weinberger, K., and J. Msuya. 2004. Indigenous Vegetables in Tanzania - Significance and Prospects. Taiwan: The World Vegetable Center.
World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. 2012. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2012. WHO; UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_69025.html.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Further distribution of the work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published work's title, journal citation, and DOI (digital object identifier).
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
- The work does not infringe any copyright; violate any other right of any third parties; contain any scandalous, libelous, or unlawful matter; or make any improper invasion of the privacy of any person. The author(s) agrees to indemnify and hold harmless The Pennsylvania State University against any claim or proceeding undertaken on any of the aforementioned grounds.