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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The role of traditional leafy vegetables in household food security in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Editor:Thandeka, Nombuso
Periodical:Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:food security
rural households
food consumption
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC61397
Abstract:Traditional leafy vegetables (TLV) have been consumed by rural communities for centuries and have a potential to contribute to household food security by providing direct access to readily accessible nutritious food. To assess the role and importance of TLVs in rural communities, a survey was conducted during 2007 in Mtubatuba in South Africa. The study aimed at assessing rural households' levels of awareness, consumption and attitude towards TLVs. Data was collected through focus group discussions, seasonal calendar, and questionnaire surveys among 64 households. Results showed that TLVs were abundant in summer and that amaranthus, blackjack and pumpkin leaves were the most popular. There was a general positive attitude towards TLVs and they were not considered as 'poor people food' or toxic. Cooking time and processing of TLVs varied between the respondents, causing some concern over the loss of nutrients. The majority of the respondents consumed TLVs twice a week and HIV/AIDS infected considered TLVs nutritious and good immune boosters. This was attributed to community education programmes conducted by the local healthcare officers. The frequency of TLVs consumption was positively correlated to age and education level. However, the availability of TLVs was reported to be declining, possibly due to changes in customs and land use. Furthermore, information on agronomy, nutritive value and methods of preparation that minimize nutrient leaching is scarce. It was therefore recommended that local health institutes and other stakeholders should start promoting and strengthening current efforts that encourage the consumption of TLVs. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]