Characterization and documentation of factors contributing to production and consumption of African leafy vegetables (ALVS) in Kiambu and Kirinyaga counties in Kenya
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The aim of the study was to evaluate popular ALVs in two counties; i.e. Kiambu and Kirinyaga counties in Kenya. Focus group discussion (FGD) and a field survey were employed. The study was carried out in the two counties in Central Kenya between January and February; 2015. Purposive sampling method was used where 67 respondents (37 and 30) Kiambu and Kirinyaga counties respectively; were interviewed. One FGD was carried out in each county. The findings indicated that; about seven ALVs were cultivated and consumed in the two counties. Vegetable amaranth and nightshade were the most dominant indigenous vegetables in both counties (83.8% and 81.1%) in Kiambu and (93.3% and 83.3%) in Kirinyaga respectively. These were followed by, spider plants, pumpkin leaves, cow peas leaves and jute mallow at 54.1%, 35.1% 32.4% and 21.6%respectively in Kiambu and 30%, 56.7%, 30% and 6.7% in Kirinyaga respectively. Furthermore, large number of farmers (59% and 66.7%) in Kiambu and Kirinyaga respectively grew ALVs for nutrition or health benefit in both counties. The finding also revealed that over 50% of the respondents in both counties cultivated ALVs both for domestic and commercial purposes. Conclusion: Two ALVs species (Amaranthus and Solanum spp) were most popular in the studied region. However a large diversity of cultivated and consumed ALVs seems to exist in Central Kenya. Production and utilization of the vegetables for nutrition and health benefit was major incentive to continual cultivation of ALVs.