Local knowledge and agricultural applications: lessons from a Ugandan parish
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A multidisciplinary team of agricultural researchers worked with residents of a rural parish in south-western Uganda to generate local knowledge about the diverse use of plants identified as African vegetables. While some were sold at the commercial fresh produce market in Kampala most were cultivated for household consumption. Some plants had properties which, when planted in specific ways, could improve the fertilisation of farmers' marginal soils and protect their crops from pests. By focusing on people's local knowledge research and extension officials became aware of the importance of this knowledge for production purposes. The research illustrates, by using African vegetables as an example that it is important to focus on local knowledge in order to understand observed practices; including gender responsibilities. Such practices are largely governed by people's socio-economic and agro-ecological circumstances. In such contexts the utilisation of local resources are important. Understanding can enable agricultural professionals to optimise the integration of local knowledge in agricultural development.