Potential for indigenous vegetables in Central Kenya

Published: 29 October 2019
Last edited: 25 September 2020
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In Kirenga, Lari, Central Kenya the low and erratic rainfall and lack of irrigation facilities limits the production of vegetables. Still, exotic vegetables are grown in kitchen gardens, whereas nutrient-rich indigenous vegetables are rarely produced nor consumed. Consumption of vegetables is limited despite the occurence of malnutrition among children and women. In addition, indigenous vegetables have a ready market in Nairobi, which is about 50 km away. Consequently,  production of indigenous vegetables would  enhance  livelihoods of these farmers through income generation while consumption of the same would enhance their nutritional status.

To achieve this, farmers were trained in techniques of farming these indigenous species. In addition, training on how to  prepare and consume the vegetables was offered. The activities also included the raising of awareness on the nutritional value of these vegetables to further encourage consumption by the local farmers and their families.


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
(I)NDC Submission


Lari, Central Province, Kenya

How do the building blocks interact?

First you need to communicate to the local community effectively about what you about to do and how it will benefit them. Once they buy your idea, then ivolve them in the planning and implemention of the project


 The National Genebank of Kenya in her activites to promote on-farm conservation of under-utilized crop genetic resources has been promoting the production, consumption and marketing of ALVs in the Central Kenya
region in collaboration with other stakeholders. We started by raising awareness on the nutritional value of these vegetables after which we  trained the  people on how to grow, eat and market these vegetables. As a consequence, some farmers started to grow nightshades, cats' whisker (Cleone gynandra) and amaranthus and started selling in the open air markets. This business was taken up by women initially as they sold these vegetables alongside the exotic kales and spinach. This led to increased family incomes. They also started eating these indigenous vegetables and giving to their children since we had explained to them their health benefits. This improved their health status because most families in this area are resource poor  yet small children and women in childbearing age are the worst hit by protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C malnutrition.These nutrients are richly found in inidgenous leafy vegetables. The women also took advantage of their merry go rounds (chamas) to grow and market these indigenous vegetables collectively. This way,  were able to sell to hotels which needed large quantities and regular supply; the hotels offered ready market and better prices.

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jane mbugua Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization

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Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)