African veggies are winners

560286 INLSA Children at Sizanani Primary School in Dube, Soweto, grow imifino.

Traditional African leafy vegetables have advantages over exotic vegetables dominating our supermarket shelves, proving to be drought-resistant.

Research by the Water Research Commission, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, indicates that traditional African vegetables known as morogo or imifino have advantages over exotic vegetable species.

The research project was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team in the crop, food and nutrition disciplines from the University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Medical and Agricultural Research Councils.

The eight indigenous vegetables selected were more drought- and heat- tolerant than Swiss chard, which was the reference crop in this study. This could prove significant in the context of climate change. Cowpea was found to be the most drought-tolerant crop, followed by nightshade, pumpkin and tsamma melon. Amaranth was the most heat-tolerant crop.

In addition the study showed that some plants provided more than 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A and contained significant amounts of fibre. – Daily News Correspondent


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