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18 October 2018
PLATFORM2013: The objective of the Nigerian-Canadian [NINCANVEG] project is to increase food security and economic empowerment of women farmers. Print
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:00

Obafemi Awolowo University’s PLATFORM 2013 article in PLATFORM2013  discusses how the importance of indigenous leafy vegetables to human nutrition has been realized in the present situation of economic meltdown, global food crisis and climate change.

Researchers: Prof. Kehinde Taiwo | Department of Food Science and Technology | & Prof. Duro Oyedele | Principal Investigator in OAU Department of Soil Science |

[Portraits: From top left Prof. Kehinde Taiwo; Prof. Duro Oyedele]

Research in Context
The mission of Obafemi Awolowo University is to promote by research and other means the advancement of knowledge and its practical application to social, cultural, economic, scientific and technological problems,” said Vice-Chancellor Prof. Idowu Bamitale Omote when discussing Research Uptake. “The University’s Strategic Plan seeks to improve strategies for dissemination of research findings, and to reappraise, strengthen, and reposition the research institutes, centres and laboratories to enable them respond effectively to emerging national and global challenges. Towards this end, the project on underutilised vegetables has been selected to showcase the research dissemination channels within the University. Sustained cultivation and consumption of indigenous leafy vegetables may hold the key to solving the persistent problems of food insecurity and poor nutrition in the nation at large and in developing countries as a whole. Reaching the beneficiaries – rural women, policy-makers, researchers etc. – will enhance Research Uptake.”

Problem statement
Given the generally poor state of the rural farmers, and their inability to purchase highly nutritious food items, most rural dwellers resort to the consumption of indigenous leafy vegetables. These vegetable species are still gathered from the wild with great difficulty. In addition, organised research systems have not given these species priority in crop development for the improvement of human nutrition and enhancement of farmers’ income. A common feature of many underutilised species is the poor storage of the harvested plant products, which limits shelf life and hence commercialisation.

Rationale for research
Poverty-stricken rural women are the custodians of gathering, utilisation and preservation of the underexploited indigenous leaf and fruit vegetables. Most studies on leafy vegetables by researchers have focused on the routinely cultivated species. A significant proportion of crops are lost before getting to the ultimate consumers for lack of adequate storage facilities. The production and post-harvest handling procedures practised in tropical regions perpetuate heavy losses, while inadequate infrastructural facilities cripple marketing prospects. Processors are faced with high production costs due to low yields obtained during processing, inadequate supplies of desired quality raw material and the high cost of packaging. Also, problems are faced when attempts are made to meet quality standards stipulated by sophisticated markets. Solutions to these problems lie in the establishment of organised systems of production and the introduction of suitable post-harvest handling procedures. The general objective of this Nigerian-Canadian Vegetable (NICANVEG) project is to increase food security and economic empowerment of resource-poor rural women farmers of Nigeria through the utilisation, cultivation, processing and preservation of underutilised vegetable species.

Methodology and activities
This proposed research will use a participatory approach involving rural women farmers and scientists. The thematic areas of interest are:

i.)Development of an eco-geographic database of Nigerian vegetables to compile baseline information that will be used for gender analyses and provide input into other phases of thestudy. In addition, the baseline information will form the basis against which we can compare information gathered at the end of the study to assess the impacts of the study.

ii.)Agronomic characterisation – to determine the optimum agronomic practice which includes the best planting material and optimum planting density that can guarantee optimum performance, yield and economic returns and also identification of key leafy vegetable species for promotion and production.

iii.)Advanced on-farm study – to establish beneficial management practices with respect to fertility and water-use efficiency, and establish demonstration plots using appropriate Best Management Practices on farmers lands.

iv.)Food technologies and market analyses – develop post-harvest methods for processing and 
preservation of vegetables using technologies that can be readily adopted by the local farmers 
and end users/consumers.

v.)Gender and marketing analyses – to enhance the economic viability of the selected vegetable 
crops as well as to explore the marketing opportunities inherent in its processing and value 

vi.)Communication – multi-media publications, training, workshops and demonstrations.

A major focus of the project is training for poor rural women on production, processing, utilisation and marketing of underutilised vegetables for food security and financial empowerment.

Research output and policy implications
Some of the research outputs so far include:

·      Development of a GIS-linked database of the eco-geographical occurrence, uses, local 
processing methods, indigenous knowledge and nutritional qualities of the species collected.

·      Gender disaggregated baseline databank on the management of underutilised indigenous 
vegetable resources.

·      Selection of five indigenous vegetables using standardised criteria, multidimensional analyses 
and information provided by the users during the baseline surveys.

·      Baseline conditions of underutilised vegetables in the study area and identification of drivers 
of vegetable cultivation and utilisation.

·      Documentation of the impacts of crop diversification on environment, farm resilience, resource- 
use efficiency and gender equity.

·      Development of agronomic package for high-premium underutilised vegetables of Nigeria.

·      Establishment of field-tested procedures for implementing agronomic packages.

·      Value addition for underutilised vegetables through improved processing.

Join the Research Uptake Conversation

If this piece of evidence-based development research from SSA is of use to you, please continue the Research Uptake Conversation by contacting Obafemi Awolowo University.


DRUSSA Research Uptake Leader at Obafemi Awolowo University
Prof. Biodun Adediran
Linkages and Sponsored Research Unit

DRUSSA Research Uptake Champion at Obafemi Awolowo University and article researcher/writer
Prof. Kehinde Taiwo
Professor Department of Food Science and Technology
Financial Director WARIMA

PLATFORM2013 writer / researcher at Obafemi Awolowo University
Prof. Duro Oyedele
Principal Investigator in OAU
Department of Soil Science

Read this article on pages 10 and 11 of PLATFORM2013 – a print and digital publication from the DRUSSA Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] – aimed at accessibly communicating evidence-based development research with the goal of deepening its reach and impact in the region. 

Follow the PLATFORM2013 blog campaign daily until 16 January 2014. You’ll find the blog schedule on PLATFORM2013 articles from the DRUSSA Universities here

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