Productionn of indigenous leafy vegetables (ILVs) and their contribution to household food security : evidence from Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa

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University of Fort Hare


There is high level of agreement on the relevance of Indigenous Leafy Vegetables (ILVs) in complementing household food security. Despite the significant level of agreement and several nutritional and health benefits associated with ILVs, farmers have opted not to include them in their farming systems, thus seriously affecting production volumes and their availability on the market. With the emerging interest in linking biodiversity to food security in the face of climate change and potential nutritional and health benefits connected to ILVs, there is a need to appraise why many farmers have opted not to include ILVs in their farming systems. Against this background, this study used cross-sectional survey data to estimate farmers` perceptions of, and commonly cultivated ILVs, factors that influence the participation of smallholder famers in the production of Indigenous Leafy Vegetables and its contribution to household food security]. With regard to farmers` perceptions of ILVs, descriptive results reveal that a majority of the people from the study area share positive perceptions with respect to ILVs. Regression estimates for determinants of participation indicate that the production of ILVs is primarily conditioned by shared perceptions and institutional factors rather than the socio-economic attributes of farmers. Public policies that address the institutional framework (extension, credit, market and social networks) in favour of ILVs are more likely to promote production. Also, more research on the documentation and benefits of ILVs, supported by investments targeting educational campaigns towards promoting positive attitudes and dispelling fears and myths surrounding ILVs, will further promote production. With reference to the contribution of ILVs to food security, descriptive results indicate that participation in the production of ILVs leads to a higher HDDS and a lower HFIAS. Regression estimates further revealed that participation positively contributes to a higher HDDS and a lower HFIAS, suggesting that households who participate in the production of ILVs are more likely to be food secure than non-participants. Therefore, participation in the production of ILVs has significant potential to address household food security.



Edible greens -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape -- Growth, Food security -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Farms, Small -- Irrigation -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape, Edible greens -- Nutrition -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape