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Open AccessArticle

Wild Vigna Legumes: Farmers’ Perceptions, Preferences, and Prospective Uses for Human Exploitation

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Department of Food Biotechnology and Nutritional Sciences, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), P.O. Box 447 Arusha, Tanzania
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Department of Sustainable Agriculture, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 447 Arusha, Tanzania
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Centre for Research, Agricultural Advancement, Teaching Excellence and Sustainability in Food and Nutrition Security (CREATES-FNS), Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 447 Arusha, Tanzania
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(6), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9060284
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 22 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 31 May 2019
The insufficient food supply due to low agricultural productivity and quality standards is one of the major modern challenges of global agricultural food production. Advances in conventional breeding and crop domestication have begun to mitigate this issue by increasing varieties and generation of stress-resistant traits. Yet, very few species of legumes have been domesticated and perceived as usable food/feed material, while various wild species remain unknown and underexploited despite the critical global food demand. Besides the existence of a few domesticated species, there is a bottleneck challenge of product acceptability by both farmers and consumers. Therefore, this paper explores farmers’ perceptions, preferences, and the possible utilization of some wild Vigna species of legumes toward their domestication and exploitation. Quantitative and qualitative surveys were conducted in a mid-altitude agro-ecological zone (Arusha region) and a high altitude agro-ecological zone (Kilimanjaro region) in Tanzania to obtain the opinions of 150 farmers regarding wild legumes and their uses. The study showed that very few farmers in the Arusha (28%) and Kilimanjaro (26%) regions were aware of wild legumes and their uses. The study further revealed through binary logistic regression analysis that the prior knowledge of wild legumes depended mainly on farmers’ location and not on their gender, age groups, education level, or farming experience. From the experimental plot with 160 accessions of wild Vigna legumes planted and grown up to near complete maturity, 74 accessions of wild Vigna legumes attracted the interest of farmers who proposed various uses for each wild accession. A Χ2 test (likelihood ratio test) revealed that the selection of preferred accessions depended on the farmers’ gender, location, and farming experience. Based on their morphological characteristics (leaves, pods, seeds, and general appearance), farmers perceived wild Vigna legumes as potentially useful resources that need the attention of researchers. Specifically, wild Vigna legumes were perceived as human food, animal feed, medicinal plants, soil enrichment material, and soil erosion-preventing materials. Therefore, it is necessary for the scientific community to consider these lines of farmers’ suggestions before carrying out further research on agronomic and nutritional characteristics toward the domestication of these alien species for human exploitation and decision settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-domesticated legumes; Vigna racemosa; Vigna ambacensis; Vigna reticulata; Vigna vexillata; Tanzania; wild food legumes non-domesticated legumes; Vigna racemosa; Vigna ambacensis; Vigna reticulata; Vigna vexillata; Tanzania; wild food legumes
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Harouna, D.V.; Venkataramana, P.B.; Matemu, A.O.; Ndakidemi, P.A. Wild Vigna Legumes: Farmers’ Perceptions, Preferences, and Prospective Uses for Human Exploitation. Agronomy 2019, 9, 284.

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