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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010016

African Leafy Vegetables: A Review of Status, Production and Utilization in South Africa

1
Horticultural Science, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg 3209, South Africa
2
Crop Science, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg 3209, South Africa
3
Agricultural Research Council, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute (ARC-VOPI), Private Bag X293, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 18 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
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Abstract

African leafy vegetables (ALVs) are mostly gathered from the wild, with few selected species being cultivated, usually as part of a mixed cropping system in home gardens or smallholder plots. They have important advantages over exotic vegetable species, because of their adaptability to marginal agricultural production areas and their ability to provide dietary diversity in poor rural communities. Despite their significance in food and nutrition security, there is limited availability or access to these crops leading to underutilisation. The objective of this review was to document the state of utilisation and production of ALVs in South Africa. A qualitative systematic approach review of online sources, peer reviewed papers published in journals, books and other publications was conducted. There is lack of suitable production systems, innovative processing, and value-adding techniques that promote utilisation of ALVs. Furthermore, there is a perception that ALVs are food for the poor among the youth and urban folks, while, among the affluent, they are highly regarded as being nutritious. To promote ALVs from household consumption and commercialisation, further research on agronomy, post-harvest handling, storage and processing is required in South Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: drying; nutritional value; packaging; promotion; water use drying; nutritional value; packaging; promotion; water use
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Maseko, I.; Mabhaudhi, T.; Tesfay, S.; Araya, H.T.; Fezzehazion, M.; Plooy, C.P.D. African Leafy Vegetables: A Review of Status, Production and Utilization in South Africa. Sustainability 2018, 10, 16.

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