Promote consumption of indigenous vegetables

Women were Tuesday advised to incorporate indigenous vegetables in their kitchen gardens because they have a unique ability to defend themselves against pests and diseases.

A crops’ officer in the county, Fredrick Owino, said vegetables known locally asmanagu, osuga and sageti have the ability to defend themselves against major pests like the tomato red spider mite, thereby reducing the cost of buying pesticides.

He said when mites reach the leaves surface, the ‘small hairs’ on the leaves, trap the pests, hindering their further movement. He was speaking to KNA Tuesday at his office.

He added that the disturbance caused by the mites on the leaf surface causes the succulent lobes of their hairs to crack. The cracked lobes then release secretions that contain foul-smelling chemicals that prevent the pests from laying eggs, thereby breaking their reproductive cycle.

He said the findings were a fascinating discovery, given the growing attention on the vital role of indigenous vegetables can play in improving the nutritional security of many African households.

He said nutritionists have always recommended the consumption of the indigenous vegetables because they are an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc.

A tomato spider mite causes serious damages, significantly hindering the production of African nightshade (manage), and other crops that are members of the indigenous vegetable family.

He urged farmers to intercrop the indigenous vegetables with kales and cabbages, instead of buying pesticides to ward off the pests.

In the recent past the indigenous vegetables have become a high demand in urban areas, and there are rural farmers who have shifted from planting maize and potatoes because there is a ready market for them.

Even super markets stock the vegetables, a thing which never used to happen in the past because the indigenous vegetables were deemed to be a poor man’s’ meal- but not anymore.

Source: Kenya News Agency