More youth are getting involved in Agriculture, and taking charge of food security and production. As a young farmer myself, I decided to do a market survey on Impact towards Vegetable Consumption in Kenya before the COVID-19 epidemic happened and during COVID 19. Urban and rural dwellers in Kenya consume about 147 and 73 kg of vegetables per capita per year, respectively. Additionally, about 26% of the household food budget is expended on fruits and vegetables by urban dwellers in Kenya.
According to previous research on vegetable consumption during national epidemics, this is about to change due to COVID-19 and this article explains why yous should care. This vegetable questionnaire is meant to survey and understand vegetable consumption trends as well as help us formulate better ways on how we can feed Kenyans during the pandemic and in future pandemics.
Click here to fill the 1 minute Vegetable Consumption SurveyAs urban and rural dwellers in Kenya consume about 147 and 73 kg of vegetables per capita per year, more youth are getting involved in Agriculture, and taking charge of food security and production. Click To Tweet
Vegetable consumption in Kenya
Vegetable consumption in Kenya is constrained by factors related to demographics, socio-psychological, and food characteristics in addition to government and industrial actions. For instance, more women than men prefer vegetables for consumption.
The nutritional condition of any population depends on the consumption of fruits and vegetables. According to WHO, Health complications of non-communicable diseases are clear indications of inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables.
Food security means availability of nutritious food and ability for people to access it.
Importing Green Beans from Kenya to UK (VIDEO)Vegetable consumption in Kenya is constrained by factors related to demographics, socio-psychological, and food characteristics in addition to government and industrial actions. Click To Tweet
With the current Covid-19 crisis, a lower disposable income decreases the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed per adult equivalent.
During such times, people tend to prefer fruits and sweet and Irish potatoes instead of vegetables.
This is counter productive during the current crisis which affects people with a lower immunity more.
African leafy vegetables in Kenya (VIDEO)According to WHO, Health complications of non-communicable diseases are clear indications of inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables. Click To Tweet
For a deeper look into Kenyans eating habits, this survey will be compared to a previous research done on Consumption intensity of leafy African indigenous vegetables before Covid-19.
Just like the previous research, we hope to analyse and enhance nutritional security for rural and urban dwellers in Kenya.
Why you should care about Vegetable Consumption
Daily vegetable consumption is a health recommendation. Adequate benefits from the consumption of leafy African indigenous vegetables can be realized if a more frequent consumption interval is maintained.
This can increase the vegetable consumption level, which is found to be low in developing countries.
A duration of 1 week was presumed an adequate period for analyzing consumption intensity, and the results generated could enhance the formulation of reliable policies for improving vegetable consumption in developing countries.
Facts about food in Kenya:
- Kenya prepares 350 tonnes of vegetables and cut flowers each night ready to be sold next day in UK supermarkets.
- Leguminous vegetables (peas, beans, mange tout) constitute the largest proportion of Kenyan imports to the UK. Due to their high perishability and value, leguminous vegetables tend to be imported by air freight.
- In 1988, the UK imported around 3,800 tonnes of legumes from Kenya. By 2005, this had increased to around 25,000 tonnes.
- In 2005, the UK also imported 18,650 tonnes of cut flowers from Kenya with a value of around £52m. Due to the high unit value and highly perishable nature of the products, virtually all of the African trade in cut flowers are imported by air freight – they need to be in UK supermarkets within 24 to 48 hours of picking in Kenya.
- Horticulture (growing fruit, flowers and vegetables) employs about 70,000 Kenyans directly, and another 20,000 in ancillary industries, for example transport. Add in their dependents and it may support as many as 500,000 people.
- Horticulture is Kenya’s second biggest earner of foreign exchange after tea, having leapt up from fourth place since 2001.
Vegetable Consumption Research in Kenya and Zambia
- Higher diversity of leafy African indigenous vegetables at retail outlets tends to increase consumption intensity in both rural and urban dwellers.
- In urban dwellers, formal employment of a household cook reduced the consumption intensity of leafy African indigenous vegetables while increased distance to retail outlets had a contrary effect.
- In rural dwellers, elderly decision-makers with more information on African indigenous vegetables medicinal benefits increased vegetable consumption intensity.
- Increasing vegetable consumption intensity is acknowledged as a strategic intervention for addressing micronutrient deficiency and reduces risks associated with degenerative diseases.
- An improvement in household welfare, through a general increase in income, might not favour consumption of leafy AIVs as opposed to other food commodities like meat products.
- Policies that could increase the diversity of AIV leaves at retail outlets through diverse production and well-coordinated market supply chains could increase vegetable consumption intensity in both rural and urban dwellers.
References on Vegetable Consumption in Kenya and PDF Downloads:
- Ayieko MW, Tschirley DL, Mathenge MW (2008) Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption patterns and supply chain systems in urban Kenya. Implications for policy and investment priorities. Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Egerton University, Working Paper 16.
- Patrick M. Maundu, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya The status of traditional vegetable utilization in Kenya
- Banwat ME, Lar LA, Daber J, Audo S, Lassa S (2012) Knowledge and intake of fruit and vegetable consumption among adult in urban community in north central, Nigeria. Nigeria Health Jl 12(1):12–15
- Ruel MT, Minot N, Smith L (2005) Patterns and determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption in sub-Saharan Africa: a multicounty comparison. FAO/WHO workshop on fruit and vegetable for health, 1 -3 September 2004. Kobe, Japan.
- Obedy, Eric; Ayuya, Oscar Ingasia; Owuor, George; Bokelmann, Wolfgang (2017) Consumption intensity of leafy African indigenous vegetables: towards enhancing nutritional security in rural and urban dwellers in Kenya, Agricultural and Food Economics.
Further Reading on Vegetable Consumption:
Meat slowly disappearing from our plates:
ver wondered whether we’re the biggest meat eaters in Africa? Considered if we are eating less or more meat? Chewed over what type of meat Kenyans prefer? Meat is slowly disappearing from our plates with Kenyans eating less meat today than they did at independence, a look at food data dating back to independence reveals.
In 1963, Kenyans ate about 16 kilograms of meat per person a year, equivalent 78 kilocalories per person a day but consumption had dropped to about 14 kg per person a year or 50 kilocalories per person a day by 2013, reveals a Newsplex review of statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nation
Most Consumed Foods by Kenyan Households
Kenyan households spend the largest proportion of their budget on food. The largest proportion of their food budget is on staples. Although staples continue to be an important constituent of the food basket, their share in the total budget is expected to decline as incomes rise.
The food items commonly consumed by Kenyan households have been classified into the commonly known food groups namely: staples, fruits and vegetables, pulses, meat & and eggs, dairy products, oils & margarine, and beverages (soft drinks, tea/coffee).
African Indigenous Vegetables Training Kit Shared
Good Seed Initiative have produced what they call a module training set on the production of 9 African indigenous vegetables and seed. These can be downloaded for free from the ISFM materials library.
African indigenous vegetables contribute significantly to the food security and nutrition of the majority of people in East Africa. They are a major source of livelihood especially for women who sell vegetable at local market for daily income.
Production and consumption of indigenous vegetables can be enhanced through addressing the issue of scarcity of seed. The Good Seed Initiative also promotes the consumption of indigenous vegetables with a high nutritive value to complement the staple diet.
African indigenous vegetables to help fight hidden hunger in Uganda
African Indigenous Vegetables (AIV) are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals including micro-nutrients, supplementary protein, fibre and calories.
Micro-nutrient deficiency threatens nutrition security and also causes hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite their nutritive value, these vegetables have not been a high priority in national food programmes.
As a result, adequate resources have not been allocated to promote their production and consumption in the region.
Why Nairobi must spread the right food message in an unhealthy environment
Scientific evidence shows that consuming at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can prolong your life and reduce your risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Yet not enough people across the world are consuming adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables. In low and middle income countries, over 75% of adults consume less than the minimum recommendation. In Tanzania more than 95% of people consume less than the minimum requirement.
In the slums of Nairobi, our research shows that less than half of the adult population are meeting their daily fruit or vegetable requirements. Instead, as global fast food outlets flood the Kenyan market, they prefer junk food which they see as a status symbol.
How safe is your sukuma wiki? Vegetable Consumption
Before you have your next meal, you may need to ask where the vegetables you have with it are from. Chances are you got them from your nearest supermarket or from your favourite ‘Mama Mboga’, but do you know you could be exposing yourself to heavy metals that are harmful to your health?
An investigation by the Star has found that you are better off buying sukuma wiki (kales) from your local market than at a supermarket, following intensive testing of samples from various food markets in the city, as well as two major supermarkets.
More on How safe is your sukuma wiki?
African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs)
In the early 1990s scientists in sub-Saharan Africa noted a decline in the presence of traditional African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) in meals and fields alike.
Bioversity International, alarmed by the potential loss of agricultural biodiversity, assembled a broad partnership that, in two successive projects, resulted in a resurgence of interest in ALVs among farmers, researchers and consumers.
The area planted to ALVs increased by 80% in some areas and most households growing ALVs reported increases in income. Women were the main beneficiaries, retaining the earnings from ALVs in 80% of households. Among consumers, more families were eating more ALVs more often at the end of the project than at the start.
More on African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs)
Eco-friendly Nets 2 – A profitable climate smart agriculture technology
Using insect netting to protect vegetable crops in tropical zones increases yields while reducing use of if not removing the need for chemical insecticides.
As part of the Ecofriendly Net 2 project, funded by the USAID Horticulture Innovation Lab and CIRAD, high tunnels covered with netting, measuring 8m x 20m x 2.5m, were installed on 30 small farms in Kenya. Some of the farmers involved talk about their experiences at the end of the project.
Speaking in this video is Dr. Thibaud Martin of Cirad-Icipe, with additional comments from Sylvia Kuria, a farm leader in Kiambu county of Kenya, Esther Mujuka, an economist with Icipe and Marco Pasini, a financial analyst with MicroFinanza.
“Anyone who is interested in high value crops, I would say that netting technology is really good for you. It works. It reduces costs and it also reduces on the labor.”– Sylvia Kuria
This video is about a Horticulture Innovation Lab project headed by Professor William “Vance” Baird of Michigan State University.
The project team gave Eco-Friendly Nets to farm leaders in the Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Machakos and Migori counties of Kenya to examine how farmers adapted to them and whether they were useful at preventing pest irrigation and combating extreme climate conditions.
They are researching barriers to sustained adoption of the Eco-Friendly Nets including barriers to purchasing and financing the nets and performing a cost-benefit analysis on the nets.
EcofriendlyNet2 – Smallholder farmers in Kajiado County experience land scarcity
Kajiado County: Smallholder farmers in Kajiado County experience land scarcity. They are close to the capital of Nairobi and the cost of land is very high. They are producing vegetables for their own consumption but also for the local market.
They are interested in intensifying their production as well as in improving quality. Most of them use hosepipes for irrigation with a few having drip irrigation system. Six farmers were selected around Ngong Hills to evaluate this technology on their farm to grow tomatoes, French beans and cabbages in rotation. These farmers discussing input cost changes due to the project, revealed that the net house reduced cost of pesticides and irrigation by 90% and 33% in the production of cabbages. They tell us about it.
Using insect netting to protect vegetable crops in tropical zones increases yields while reducing use of if not removing the need for chemical insecticides. As part of the Ecofriendly Net 2 project, funded by the USAID Horticulture Innovation Lab and CIRAD, high tunnels covered with netting, measuring 8m x 20m x 2.5m, were installed on 30 small farms in Kenya. Some of the farmers involved talk about their experiences at the end of the project.
One On One With Vishali Shah, Founder Kenya Vegetarian Club
Growing vegetables for human consumption is a profitable business venture. While vegetable farming can be fascinating, it also requires continuous hard work, patience and dedication without being distracted by anything else. But all the hard work will never go in vain.
Mother earth is one of the most generous paymasters and any farmer undertaking vegetable farming will definitely strike gold. Vegetarianism as a movement is spreading all over the world. Apart from religious reasons, people are turning vegetarian due to health compulsions too.
There are many who want to support animal welfare or conserve natural resources. Whether it is for ethical reasons or promoting animal rights, switching to a vegetarian diet ensures lesser carbon emissions thereby helping the environment greatly.