In order to promote the production and marketing of African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) and help realize their potential as sources of food and income, a case study was undertaken under the IPGRI programme on ALVs. The study was aimed at determining the priority ALVs and assessing their status in terms of genetic diversity, production, processing and marketing through a household survey. Three communities of Hoffmeyer, Subcentre and Chikumbi in Nyimba, Siavonga and Chibombo districts respectively were covered. Information was gathered from 280 households across the communities through participatory rural appraisal using guided household interviews and focused group discussions. Amaranthus
spp. Wild spinach (English) Bboonko (Tonga), Libondwe (Lenje), Bondwe (Nyanja); Cleome gynandra
Cat's whiskers, spiderplant (English), Shungwa/ Luyuni-yuni (Tonga), Lubanga (Lenje), Suntha (Nyanja); Abelmoschus esculentus
, Okra (English), Mudelele/ Mutezi (Tonga), Delele/ Mulembwe (Lenje), Delele (Nyanja); Brassica carinata
, Ethiopian Mustard (English) Tanta a chulu/ Chishu chituba (Tonga), Mupilu/ Nchembele (Lenje), Mupilu (Nyanja) and Cucurbita
spp., Pumpkin (English) Bboobbo, Lutanga, Muchile (Tonga), Buchisa bwa nyungu (Lenje), Chiwawa, Mthopo (Njanja) were identified as priority ALVs.
It was found that within species variability based on morphological markers of the target ALVs was generally low except for Abelmoschus esculentus
spp which had more than three known varieties. Although 63% of households cultivated both ALVs and exotic vegetables, 33% of the households cultivated ALVs while only 4% exclusively grew exotic vegetables. Farm saved seed for all ALVs except Abelmoschus esculentus was used by 81% of households across communities while 10% obtained their seed from neighbours/relatives within their communities. Direct sowing was the commonest planting method while the application of organic manure to the crop was prominent in Subcentre followed by Chikumbi. Application of mineral fertilizers to ALVs was uncommon practice except in Abelmoschus esculentus. It was revealed that the most preserved ALVs were Abelmoschus esculentus
spp. Open markets and supermarkets in Lusaka sold ALVs such as Abelmoschus esculentus
spp and Cucurbita
spp. The main sources of these vegetables in Lusaka were local farmers in the peri-urban areas of the town. A total of 33 different recipes and eleven preservation methods for ALVs were documented across communities while 7 recipes were documented from commercial restaurants. The ALVs play an increasing role in the diets and as source of income for many households and efforts required for stimulating production include improvements in access to improved varieties and availability of urban markets.