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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Plant Genetic Resources
Title Diversity and genetic erosion of traditional vegetables in Tanzania from the farmer's point of view
Volume 3
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
Page numbers 400-413
URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/plant-genetic-resources/article/diversity-and-genetic-erosio​n-of-traditional-vegetables-in-tanzania-from-the-farmers-point-of-view/B8CC4CECB90CE674CA3D61444571A​E61
Traditional vegetables in Tanzania have been underutilized by farmers and neglected by
research and development programmes. In the framework of the project ‘Promotion of Neglected
Indigenous Vegetable Crops for Nutritional Health in Eastern and Southern Africa’ led
by the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) and partners, focus group meetings were conducted
in 10–12 villages in each of four districts of north-east Tanzania, which differed in ethnicity as
well as in altitude, climate and soil conditions. Farmers named 10–34 different traditional vegetables
per village, summing up to an overall of 102 in all four districts, about half of which
were only identified by local names. The number of wild traditional vegetables used was
always greater than the number of cultivated traditional types, with ratios of wild to cultivated
vegetables ranging from 11:9 in an urban highland district to 59:11 in a rural coastal district.
Some wild traditional vegetables were found to be threatened with genetic erosion due to
changes in land use and eating habits. The degree of urbanization and the availability of infrastructure
contributed more strongly to genetic erosion as compared to climatic conditions.
Farmers’ training encouraged exotic vegetable cultivation and reduced traditional vegetable
diversity. At the same time, indigenous knowledge on how and where to collect, cultivate
and prepare traditional vegetables was disappearing.

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