The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is conducting a study on the African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) in Kisii County intending to boost production and consumption.
The study which is implemented by the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Activity (KCDMS) will also address aspects of value addition and show the actual potential of vegetable varieties in the county. Speaking in his office when he met a team from KCDMS led by Beatrice Tanui,
The Study will tell the volume of vegetables produced, what is consumed at the source and the percentage that goes to the market.
KCDMS’s Beatrice Tanui says the study will provide a deep assessment of the African leafy vegetable production, marketing systems with an emphasis on demand and market linkages as well as key destination markets in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret among other regions.
Vegetables like Managu (African nightshade) and Chinsaga (Spider flower) are produced in plenty in Kisii but farmers are exploited by middlemen who buy from them at a throwaway price.
The study will be a turning point for most farmers especially the ‘mama mbogas’ as it is set to alleviate them from the hands of middlemen.
Kisii and Nyamira Counties are rooting for large production of indigenous vegetables for export to foreign markets that can enable local farmers to make more returns.Tanui indicated that the study will also identify and sketch the trade routes, main marketing corridors, main market catchment areas as well as sourcing areas during peak and the off-peak season for vegetables.
“We will describe the key market outcomes in terms of seasonal price variations, annual market demand, deficits and potential within the main strategic wholesale markets around the county as well as main destination markets.”
Primary data will be collected from small scale farmers, traders, key informants including relevant government ministries, businessmen as well as consumers.
Kisii County is one of the country’s largest producers of indigenous vegetables which include spider plant (Sagaa or Saget), black nightshade (Managu), pumpkin, cowpeas (Kunde/Egesare) and vine spinach (Nderema).
As the burgeoning middle-class embraces healthy lifestyle, opting for the richer African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs), a ready and guaranteed market has been created in big cities especially Nairobi and Kisumu. Studies show ALVs contain high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and iron.
By Frank Akunga