CABI has joined forces with the World Vegetable Centre and SNV to help increase healthy vegetable production and consumption in Kenya and Ethiopia as part of a €6m five-year project funded by the Ikea Foundation.
Under the auspice of ‘Veggies 4 Planet & People (V4P&P),’ CABI is spending the rest of this year in consolidating and documenting information from the databases and other sources to provide expert advice and insights on vegetable pest problems and farmer practices in Kenya and Ethiopia.
A healthy diet of fruit and vegetables provides a source of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain the overall health of people but is particularly important in helping to prevent obesity, heart disease and cancers.
However, the consumption of vegetables in Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the lowest of any region in the world. This is due to a number of factors including low yields because of crop pests and diseases, limited marketing, poor access to seeds, soil and fertilizers and limited knowledge of soil and plant health management.
CABI is working in partnership as part of the World Vegetable Centre-led V4P&P project which aims to create jobs, increase incomes – particularly for women and youth – and improve environmental and human health through the safe production of vegetables.
This includes, where possible, the adoption of safer-to-use and more environmentally friendly biological control agents – as part of integrated pest management plans – with a reduced reliance on chemical pesticides.
As part of CABI’s work, scientists from its regional center for Africa in Kenya and Switzerland, will work to identify and provide insight on pest problems project farmers are likely to face and gather evidence on the management practices on priority vegetables.
CABI will also recommend regenerative approaches and the steps required to introduce further low-risk solutions that are not yet available in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Dr Lorna Migiro, Senior Scientist, SPS, and project manager, said, “Problems within the vegetable supply and value chain, including pests and the use of harmful pesticides, are causing losses and high levels of residues.
“To help improve livelihoods, nutrition and food security, there is a need to increase the production of safer and healthier vegetables both for domestic consumption and export to more profitable global markets.
“The project seeks to reduce risks from pesticides by recommending the use of low-risk solutions that are compatible with regenerative agriculture. Indeed, the use of biopesticides and natural pesticides is one of the key performance indicators for the regenerative agriculture component of the V4P&P project.”
Main image: Eating vegetables contributes towards a healthy diet but consumption is low in Sub-Saharan Africa. CABI is working in partnership with the WorldVeg- V4P&P project to help reverse that trend (Credit: CABI).
Find out more about how CABI is working with the World Vegetable Centre and SNV to enable vegetable business development in East Africa from the project page.