Improving the varieties
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CTA. 2008. Improving the varieties. Agfax Resource Pack. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57203
The World Vegetable Centre in Tanzania carries out a variety of activities to increase the cultivation of indigenous food crops. These include the development of new and improved varieties and training for farmers in cultivation and processing. While visiting the Centre?s experimental plots, Lazarus Laiser found out more about this work from research assistant Omary Ijumaa.
Improving the varieties Omary Ijumaa Research Assistant, World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC), Arusha, Tanzania Suggested introduction Often we think that agricultural research centres are full of the latest crops and solutions to our farming problems. But at the World Vegetable Centre they are devoting a lot of space and effort to ancient African crops. Amongst the plots of traditional leafy vegetables Lazarus Laiser came across Omary Ijumaa, a research assistant, at work as usual. So he asked Omary to explain what he now knows of our forgotten crops and how he shares it with others who come to visit. Track 8 In ?These are African vegetables? Out ? and you increase your income.? Duration 3?25? Suggested closing announcement: Omary Ijumaa, a research assistant at the World Vegetable Centre in Arusha, Tanzania, where new and improved varieties of traditional African crops are being developed. Contact details: Omary Ijumaa, Research Assistant, World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC), Arusha, Tanzania Email email@example.com Transcript Ijumaa These are African vegetables which have, for a long time, been forgotten. Sometimes they call them underutilised species. They have been forgotten, but they are important for nutrition, health and for food. Laiser Which do you have here in AVRDC? Ijumaa The neglected indigenous vegetables we have are African eggplant, we have species like moringa, we have nightshade, we have okra, and some other species like spider flower. Laiser You yourself being here, what have you seen in development, and in developing and also promoting indigenous vegetables? Ijumaa OK, we have come up with new varieties for indigenous vegetables. We have also come up with improved varieties, which we have improved the characteristics in terms of yield and adaptability to the environment. Laiser Are they easy to grow and mix with other crops, these indigenous vegetables? Ijumaa Yes, the vegetables, especially these indigenous vegetables, are easy and actually when we intercrop with other crops, for instance, when we use indigenous vegetables which are legumes, like vegetable cowpea and vegetable soya bean, they are good because they improve on the soil fertility, since they add nitrogen to the soil, and therefore if you mix with other crops you will improve on the fertility and other crops will be high yielding. Laiser So you are saying it is easier to grow because you can even grow other crops beneath this indigenous vegetable? Ijumaa Yes it is easy when you intercrop. Laiser Which benefits to the community have you seen while working here? Ijumaa Yes while working here at the World Vegetable Center, we have tried to train farmers and also we have helped to promote the consumption of African indigenous vegetables for nutrition, and public awareness for our communities about the presence of the vegetables and their importance. Laiser So people were able to turn up, the farmers? Ijumaa Yes, farmers they normally turn up in groups. We normally organise groups to come up, farmer groups, for training. Laiser Here you are being paid to work with these indigenous vegetables. What about your homeland and eating them regularly? Ijumaa Yes, we normally eat them as part of the menu on a daily basis as part of our diets. Laiser So have you started any garden at home? Ijumaa I have been doing some farming like I have a farm where I have been growing for commercial, as a private business. Laiser What advice do you have for other farmers in Tanzania and generally in Africa? Ijumaa Actually I would advise farmers in Tanzania and generally in Africa, to get involved in vegetable production because they are a cheap source of income, food; in other words people can cultivate them easily and cheaply. They do not involve high cost but you can use low cost and get good production and you increase your income. End of track.