Value Addition for African Indiginous Vegetables(AIVs)
This report highlights the partnership between Sweet 'n' Dried and 2SCALE in Kenya, focusing on the reintroduction and value addition of African indigenous vegetables (AIVs) into the local food system. AIVs have been traditionally neglected and considered "poor people's" plants, but the partnership aims to change this perception by promoting their cultivation, processing, and marketing. The business idea of Sweet 'n' Dried involves drying AIVs to extend their shelf-life, reduce post-harvest losses, and provide year-round availability at stable prices to the Base of Pyramid (BoP) consumers. The partnership also targets women empowerment, with 60% of the 5,000 supported smallholder farmers being women. The intervention strategies implemented by Sweet 'n' Dried and 2SCALE include office set-up and administrative support, upgrading drying technology, strengthening aggregation structures, and providing training on good agronomic practices to women farmers. The aggregation system has improved access to markets, reducing transportation costs and curbing post-harvest losses. The consumption of AIVs has positively impacted community nutrition and health, especially for BoP markets, as these vegetables are rich in essential nutrients and have potential medicinal uses. The partnership has constraints, such as a lack of access to land, credit, seeds, and technology. However, initiatives like land ownership opportunities, financial inclusivity, and value-chain financing are being made to address these challenges. Recommendations include increasing women's access to land and credit, further enhancing market access, strengthening the capacity of women smallholder farmers, and conducting nutrition education activities to overcome consumer perceptions of AIVs.
Partnerships, Food security, Technology adoption, Nutrition education