African vegetables and food security for poor agrarian households in Limpopo province: effective but neglected indigenous knowledge under threat

SOURCE: Strategies to support South African smallholders as a contribution to government's second economy strategy: Volume 2: case studies
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2011
TITLE AUTHOR(S): T.Hart
SOURCE EDITOR(S): M.Aliber
KEYWORDS: AGRICULTURE, FARMERS, FOOD SECURITY, LIMPOPO PROVINCE, POVERTY, RURAL COMMUNITIES, VEGETABLES
DEPARTMENT: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7107

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Abstract

African indigenous people, including many South African ethnic groups, have survived for millennia by consuming plants collected from the wild (Fox and Norwood Young, 1998). Such practices are still prevalent in South Africa today. The different parts of the plants that are used as foodstuffs include roots, tubers, stems, rhizomes, leaves, flowers, fruits, nuts, gums and berries. Generally, at least two parts of the plant can be eaten, of which the young leaf is almost always one. This has resulted in many researchers calling these plants African leafy vegetables (ALVs) (Laker 2007). However, given that more than one part is generally consumed and because dishes, the morogo dish, for example, often contain more than just the leaves of a single plant,18 in this case study we use the term 'African vegetables'. This more inclusive term is used by many rural consumers. Morogo is the sePedi word that refers to a relish made from a number of these leafy and fruit plants that are either harvested in the wild or are locally grown for food consumption. This relish is also known as marog, imifino or miroho and is regularly consumed in rural areas as an accompaniment to maize porridge. The plants which make up this relish may be indigenous to rural areas or they may be exotic vegetables that have been indigenised and incorporated into the local diet over a number of generations through migration or trade, either prior to or during the colonial era (Schippers, 2002).