Leafy amaranthus consumption patterns in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
There is a new attention to vegetables as vital components of daily diet. A concerted effort to raise their standing has begun to change mentalities and to fuel a rapid growth of traditional leafy vegetables marketing and consumption in African cities. However, little is known about the production and consumption patterns of these plant foods. This study examined, through a field survey the socio-economic, food consumption and conservation aspects of leafy vegetables in the region of Ouagadougou. It was found that leafy vegetables are cultivated under both rain-fed and irrigated conditions in the villages and also in the city's gardens. The study has demonstrated that there is considerable indigenous knowledge on the leafy vegetables of the region. Amaranth species are the most cultivated and marketed and have potential for commercialization. They are used for many dishes in the local kitchen. Leafy Amaranths are consumed during all seasons even though they are more available (and cheap) during rainy season (June to end October). Ninety-four per cent of the interviewed people use vegetable Amaranth in sauce. There is a growing trend to use cultivated (introduced) species of Amaranth, which were brought to Africa by colonial powers and gained popularity because they were associated with high status. The introduced species are spreading quickly in a spontaneous manner. This can be a threat to biodiversity. There is need for a conservation initiative for the native species. In the commercialization of leafy vegetable and in particular for Amaranth, women play an important role. That could be optimized for marketing purpose to improve leafy vegetable adding-value. Because transportation is a cost increase factor, and given that cities should be targets for increased consumption, it is necessary to promote peri-urban agriculture of leafy vegetables, by policy guidelines. There is a need of documentation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge on indigenous leafy vegetables.